Simon Cowell on the X Factor/Strictly clash: “The people they p***** off are the viewers”

X Factor judge says forcing viewers to choose between the two shows is a move away from previous “gentleman’s agreement”

Yesterday it was revealed that Strictly Come Dancing’s launch show would clash with the second week of The X Factor and as far as Simon Cowell’s concerned, it’s just no good for viewers.


“It happens. I always think when people do that, the people they p****** off are the viewers. They say this isn’t a ratings battle. It is. That’s why they did it. They didn’t have to put it on at the same time as us, they did and it means people have to make a choice,” Cowell says, who’s returned to the UK X Factor panel after a four year absence.

The first Strictly Come Dancing show will see the celebrities, which this year includes former Xtra Factor host Caroline Flack, paired up with their professional partners. Former co-host Sir Bruce Forsyth is set to make a return, alongside new presenting duo Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman. Meanwhile, the X Factor will be onto its fourth airing of the initial in-room auditions with Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Mel B and Louis Walsh on the panel.

The clash hasn’t always occurred with Cowell saying, “Before it was a gentleman’s agreement,” with the shows only overlapping by a short amount of time last year. Whether the rest of the Strictly series will run at the same time (on both Saturday and Sunday nights) remains to be seen.

But it seems Cowell sees it as a prod to make this year’s eleventh series of the show even better.

“It just shows, as far as I’m concerned – personally speaking – the producers of the show for what they are. They don’t want this show to do well, they don’t want people to watch it. Our job is to do the best job that we can so that people prefer X Factor to them.”

Adding in a final “Meow” for good measure.


The X Factor starts this Saturday and Sunday at 8:00pm on ITV, with Strictly returning on Sunday 7 September at 8:00pm on BBC1