The singing contest, The X-Factor, touted as the biggest show ever to hit America, created by Simon Cowell, debuted on Fox last night with a not-so-flattering reception. The show originally from UK managed to pull in just 12.1 million viewers and was ranked fourth behind CBS's Criminal Minds and CSI and ABC's Modern Family in the nightly ratings. To put things in perspective, American Idol premier had 21.6 million viewers when it was aired in January.
Even though the show may not have disappointed Fox in terms of numbers, it was presumably a disappointment to Cowell who announced he wanted to beat American Idol in ratings. You don't enter into something for the silver medal, he had said.
In November 2010, Fox began airing short commercials for the program which displayed the text, Coming to America Fall 2011. In February 2011, during the Super Bowl XLV, Fox unveiled the official logo for the show in a promo starring Cowell. A second promo was shown during that night's episode of Glee, featuring Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Lady Gaga, the Pussycat Dolls and Madonna. This promo started the speculation on who would be joining Cowell on the X Factor judging panel.
Though Fox Reality Chief, Mike Darnell, expressed satisfaction over the figures, analysts said they expected a higher number given the hype and public awareness surrounding the show.
The underwhelming reception of the show is attributed to the American television already reaching a saturation point in terms of talent shows. The U.S. television already has longstanding shows such as the Idol, The Voice and America's Got Talent, adding to which are a number of music-related TV series.
On Monday, NBC's The Sing-Off attracted a low 5.3 million viewers, a USAToday report said. The viewers are increasingly getting tired of watching singing shows, which was reflected in the ratings of Cowell's show, analysts say.