Simon Cowell’s X Factor return scores best viewing figures since 2011

Last night's opening episode of X Factor series 11, starring returning judges Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole, saw 9.5 million viewers tune in


The X Factor’s 11th series premiered on ITV last night to its highest ratings since 2011. 


It seems the return of X Factor mogul Simon Cowell, who left the show in 2010 to work on X Factor USA, and former judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (formerly Cole),was just what the Saturday night singing competition needed. The show has seen a drop in viewing figures over the last two years, being beaten in the ratings by BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The launch episode, which introduced a new judging panel made up of Cowell, Cheryl, Spice Girl singer Mel B and Louis Walsh, drew in 9.5 milllion viewers and peaked at 10.6 million, beating last year’s 9.2 series opener and 2012’s 8.7 million.

It was the most watched show on TV last night, with an audience share of 47%. 

The ratings still have a way to go to match the show’s records though – back in 2011, the X Factor launch show pulled in the ratings of 11.3 million. 


The X Factor continues on Saturdays and Sundays on ITV