X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent are staying on ITV for another three years and I have to say, thank goodness for that.
It’s been a rocky week for us telly fans, what with BBC’s The Great British Bake Off moving to Channel 4 and the swift exit of hosts Mel and Sue. Lord only knows whether Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry are sticking around, or exactly when we’ll get to see people staring into ovens again after this series.
The upset of X Factor or BGT moving would have been one piece of telly upheaval too much. It might seem like it’s just pressing a different button on the remote. But we know it’s not; they’ll fiddle. Heavens, Dermot O’Leary might have left again.
The general vibe from ITV is that the shows weren’t ever really at risk of going anywhere, the new three-year deal coming as the current one nears its end. But back in January there’d been a fly in the ointment with fellow singing contest The Voice moving over (another victim of the great BBC exit).
As well as sparking suggestion that X Factor could move channels – with talks with Sky coming to light – there were rumblings it could be shifted in the schedules or even air every other year in order to better sit alongside the spinning chairs.
At the time, Cowell was bullish about the possibility of life after ITV for X Factor and BGT, saying of the latter “The show gets ten million people, if [ITV] don’t want it, there’s a lot of people who do.”
But it appears there is now calm and contentment again on both sides.
Indeed, X Factor’s ratings are on the up thanks to a new but familiar panel (early episodes’ consolidated figures already beat last year’s final) and it seems we just can’t get enough of dancing dogs. BGT is the channel’s most-watched entertainment show and, aside from the Euros, it’s the only output to exceed 12 million viewers.
So, teary pool shots and golden buzzers are safe. Now we just need to hope there’s no more soggy news coming from the Bake Off tent.
The X Factor continues Saturday at 8:00pm and Sunday at 7:30pm on ITV