ITV has confirmed that there are currently no plans for The X Factor to return, amid reports from various sources that the long-running talent show has been axed.
Simon Cowell’s series aired every year from its debut in 2004 until 2019, and was once a huge ratings success – but viewership dwindled throughout the last decade and the show went on hiatus last year.
It had originally been thought that the year off would give Cowell and the producers time to rethink the future of the show, but it appears a decision has now been reached to call it a day.
“There are no current plans for the next series of The X Factor at this stage,” an ITV spokesperson told RadioTimes.com.
Last year, ITV chief Kevin Lygo told the Edinburgh TV Festival that the reality show would not be returning in 2021, but said at the time that it would be “be back at some stage”.
During the peak of its success, The X Factor was one of the biggest shows on British TV – with the 2010 series attracting an average of as many as 14million viewers – while the programme also launched the careers of several big-name acts, notably including One Direction and Little Mix.
Following years of falling ratings, 2019 saw Cowell experiment with the format by launching two spin-off versions rather than a regular series – The X Factor: Celebrity and The X Factor: The Band, but neither series managed to improve the fortunes of the show.
In 2019, long-time host Dermot O’Leary told Radio Times that he “was in two minds” about a return, explaining that, “half of me thinks there’s a reason why we rested it, because we were doing the same thing but then again, there is a real sense of simplicity to that show I love, which is great singers and great characters.”
Despite the news, Simon Cowell remains heavily involved with ITV – after he signed a new five year contract with the channel back in December 2019.
His other successful talent show, Britain’s Got Talent, is expected to continue as normal after taking a year off in 2021 due to the pandemic, while he is also behind a brand new musical game show called Walk the Line – which will see musical variety acts take to the stage to win a life-changing amount of money.