ITV is extending its relationship with Simon Cowell for another three years. The British network has pacted with Cowell and Sony’s Syco Entertainment and FremantleMedia UK to keep reality competition series The X Factor UK and Britain’s Got Talent on the air through the end of 2016. Britain’s Got Talent will return to ITV next spring for an eighth series. The 11th series of The X Factor will air in the fall. The renewals had been expected, although there has been some question as to Cowell’s involvement with The X Factor going forward. The 10th series of the show is currently airing with judges Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger, Louis Walsh and Gary Barlow and a consolidated average of about 10M viewers. It was earlier suggested that ITV was urging Cowell to return to X Factor to help goose ratings after last December’s finale hit a six-year low. While he is expected to make special appearances during the series’ runs, a full-time return is still a question mark. He left the show in 2010 to concentrate on the Fox version in the U.S. The two air at essentially the same time of year, meaning doing both would be a stretch. But with the U.S. version faring poorly this season and facing the danger of cancellation, Cowell could potentially become …
Global Showbiz Briefs: Malala Yousafzai Documentary; Danny O’Donoghue Exits ‘The Voice UK’; S. Korea’s ‘Mr Go’ At Bat; More
Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald Prep Documentary On Malala Yousafzai
Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald are to produce a feature-length documentary chronicling the story of 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani student who last year survived a brutal assassination attempt by the Taliban. Davis Guggenheim is directing the film that’s financed by Image Nation Abu Dhabi. Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck by gunmen who targeted her for speaking out on behalf of education for girls in her community. She recovered in Birmingham, England, and became the youngest person ever nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Parkes says, “There are few stories Laurie and I have ever come across that are as compelling, urgent or important as the real-life struggle of Malala and her father Ziauddin on behalf of universal education for children. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to try to bring the lives of these extraordinary people to the screen.” The film will debut in theatrical release in late 2014. Yousafzai is repped by Ron Bernstein of ICM on behalf of Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown.
Coach Danny O’Donoghue Exits ‘The Voice UK’
BBC One’s The Voice UK has lost last season’s winning coach Danny O’Donoghue. The Irish musician will not be returning to the show due to recording commitments …
The 7th season of Simon Cowell‘s Britain’s Got Talent concluded Saturday night with Hungarian shadow dance troupe Attraction crowned the winners. But it was during the performance of third place Welsh singing brothers Richard and Adam Johnson that a woman raced on stage and started pelting judges Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams with eggs. It later came to light that the egg-hurler was Natalie Holt, a member of the Johnsons’ backing group. She was summarily pulled off stage and issued an apology. But she later told, The Telegraph: “I basically took a stand against people miming on television and against Simon and his dreadful influence on the music industry.” After the show, an ITV spokesperson said the police had been called, but “we have decided to take no further action at this stage.” Ratings for the live final peaked at 13.1M for a 57% share and had an average rating of 11.1M viewers from 7:30-10 PM. Here’s video of the incident; the pelting starts at the 1:49 mark:
As Simon Cowell put it yesterday, Britain’s Got Talent has “gotten some stick” in the past few weeks. Viewers have reacted to what they perceive as inappropriate acts on the show, and also to the fact that some current contestants have previously appeared on TV. Cowell took to Twitter on Sunday to address the latter complaints, saying, “We try and have a no rules policy on the show… Would it be right to say to someone who has appeared on a show before you can’t audition?” Referring to BGT‘s biggest breakout star, he added, “I believe Susan Boyle had appeared on another tv show years ago. Nothing happened. Bgt gave her another go. Is that wrong? I am not whining. Simply wanted to explain there is no hush hush plot. I just think everyone deserves a second chance.”
Simon Cowell‘s Britain’s Got Talent dropped slightly on Saturday from its debut last week, scoring 10.3M viewers for a 47% share, UK network ITV said. The show peaked with an audience of 12.1M, but that was down from a high of 13M on April 13. After going head-to-head with BGT last week, rival show The Voice UK moved out of its way on Saturday. The two shows jockeyed for position last year and this year has been no different with time slots frequently shifting. But the BBC this weekend set The Voice to start at 8:20 PM (BGT starts at 7 PM) and according to overnights, its ratings grew with a season high of 7.92M viewers. That was up 1.25M on the week prior. It peaked at 9.08M.
Meanwhile, controversy seems to be following BGT this season. Last week’s episode featured two acts that were deemed inappropriate by some in the Twittersphere and by a group that campaigns for family values in the media. This Saturday, a five-year-old moved through to the next round with a dance routine, spurring viewers and a child protection group to wonder about his coping mechanisms. A spokesman for BGT told The Daily Mail that contestants’ welfare is the show’s “number one priority.”
Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent returned to ITV with much fanfare on Saturday night, beating rival BBC show The Voice UK and causing some controversy in the process. BGT had its second biggest launch in seven years scoring an average 10.5M viewers and peaking at just over 13M. Only the 2010 start was bigger with a 10.6M average.
But two acts have been deemed inappropriate by some in the Twittersphere and by a group that campaigns for family values in the media. The performances in question saw an 11-year-old girl sing the one-night-stand-themed “One Night Only” from Dreamgirls, while a 40-something woman did a semi-striptease and gave Cowell a mini-lapdance. Vivienne Pattison, director of Mediawatch UK, told The Daily Mail that ITV appeared “to have completely ignored” guidelines set up by regulator Ofcom which has warned broadcasters about sexually explicit content ahead of the 9 PM watershed. But an ITV spokesman tells Deadline, “In its seventh series, Britain’s Got Talent celebrates variety and showcases a wide range of different acts. Mindful of our family audience, the performance was carefully edited to ensure it was suitably inexplicit.” Ahead of this weekend’s controversy, an ITV source told me the network chose to air BGT at 7 PM despite a clash with the BBC’s The Voice, because otherwise it “would have had to go late” and risk losing the family audience.
UPDATE, WRITETHRU, 9:23 AM PT: The seventh season of Simon Cowell‘s Britain’s Got Talent kicks off in the UK on April 13 and has set the scene for yet another showdown with The Voice UK, shifting timeslots and pitting the two shows head-to-head. The Voice debuted on BBC One on March 30 in the 7-8:35 PM slot, the same space it occupied last year. Then yesterday, it was revealed that ITV would air BGT at the identical hour when it debuts, despite traditionally starting an hour later. The BBC in turn has confirmed that it will back The Voice up by 15 minutes to 6:45 PM starting on April 13 to avoid a direct clash (this also moves Doctor Who back to about 6 PM). Given the flexibility of British broadcast schedules – and how much jostling there was last year – this is unlikely to be the last change in the ongoing battle between the two competition shows. A BBC insider calls ITV’s move “disappointing” saying “it’s not in the best interest of the fans.” An ITV source contends that the BBC “deliberately” slotted The Voice in the spring, where BGT has been since 2006 meaning an overlap was inevitable. To avoid a clash, ITV “would have had to go late” and risk losing the family audience.
The first season of The Voice UK was the BBC’s most successful new entertainment show in over a decade, but it was also locked in a ratings battle last year with Simon Cowell‘s Britain’s Got Talent which aired on rival net ITV. ITV originally set a challenge to The Voice when it moved Britain’s Got Talent ahead several weeks so the two shows would debut on the same night. This had followed an earlier bidding war in which both networks were vying for broadcast rights to The Voice. The show held its own against BGT, but endured a ratings decline when the live episodes started. The second season will have four key stages, including a new Knockouts round, but there will be just three live shows. Coaches will.i.am, Jessie J, Danny O’Donoghue and Tom Jones will select 2 more artists each for their teams and will also have the chance to steal one losing artist from a rival coach. It’s not yet confirmed when The Voice UK will start airing this spring, but the live shows are reportedly set for June 8, the same date it’s believed ITV is airing the Britain’s Got Talent finale, meaning there would again be overlap. In December, ITV confirmed Cowell would return to BGT as a judge for the show’s seventh season. …
ITV has confirmed that Simon Cowell will return to Britain’s Got Talent as a judge for the show’s seventh season. Cowell will reunite with judges Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams after coming back to the show in 2012 to give it a boost as it faced off with BBC1’s The Voice UK. Last May’s BGT season 6 finale was seen by a peak of 14.5M viewers and was the most watched show of the year up to that point. Cowell’s full-time return to BGT in January comes just as the impresario is facing a big ratings slip at his other ITV talent show, The X Factor. On Sunday, that show’s finale fell to its lowest ratings since 2006 igniting calls for Cowell to return to the series he left in 2010 to concentrate on its U.S. version which airs on Fox. Both BGT and The X Factor’s contracts with ITV are up after their upcoming seasons.
ITV boss Adam Crozier is still pushing his way through a 5-year transformation plan at the network home of Downton Abbey. In a first quarter results report this morning, ITV said it had external revenues of £565M for a 13% increase over the same period in 2011. Crozier noted that ITV Studios, the production arm of the network, had done particularly well with revenues up 61% to £212M. The net, which airs Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent, was down 2% in viewership. That show has been locked in a ratings battle with BBC1′s The Voice, although it’s recently pulled ahead. Crozier said, “We remain confident in our schedule with Euro 2012 in June and a strong Autumn line up.”
Has Simon Cowell blinked? With BBC One’s The Voice UK steadily gaining on Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent over on ITV, the latter network will step out of the line of fire for upcoming episodes. Beginning April 21, BGT will kick off 30 minutes later than it has for the past several weeks, and 10 minutes after The Voice ends. ITV originally set a challenge to The Voice when it moved BGT ahead several weeks so the two shows would debut on the same night. This had followed an earlier bidding war in which both networks were vying for broadcast rights to The Voice. BGT also brought back Cowell as a judge this year in a widely touted move.
As I reported on Tuesday, although BGT’s ratings were originally ahead of The Voice, the BBC One show beat BGT in the overall ratings for the first time this past Saturday and has been steadily adding viewers over its three frames. Key however is the fact that the shows only overlapped for a 20-minute period with The Voice airing from 7-8:20pm and BGT from 8-9:20pm. It’s that 20-minute space where The Voice has soared past BGT each week,
On May 14, Howard Stern will debut as a judge on NBC’s new-look America’s Got Talent. That show will follow the week-earlier season finale of The Voice, also on NBC. But the UK versions of those shows, which air on rival networks, are not playing together quite so harmoniously. America’s Got Talent impresario Simon Cowell recently returned to the UK as a judge on local ITV series Britain’s Got Talent, to give it a shot in the arm. While ratings are strong for BGT, it debuted lower this year than last and had to concede the Saturday night crown this past weekend to The Voice UK, which airs on BBC One. Cowell on Sunday singled out BBC Controller Danny Cohen and tweeted the following: “A slightly irritated congrats to Danny and the BBC.”
The Voice UK has steadily added about 500,000 viewers week-on-week since its March 24 debut, but BGT was down 850,000 this week (not factoring in time shift viewings). Premiering strong on March 24 and building on March 31, The Voice still lost out in the overall ratings to BGT on both of those Saturdays. But, what’s become highly notable is the fact that The Voice is consistently beating BGT during the key 20 minutes when the shows overlap (The Voice airs from 7-8:20pm, BGT airs from 8-9:20pm). In their first 20-minute standoff, The Voice led …
The UK version of singing competition show The Voice premiered on Saturday night to strong ratings, but only beat Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent for 20 minutes. The Voice, airing on BBC1, drew an average 8.43 million viewers in its debut in the 7-8:20pm time slot. Britain’s Got Talent, over on ITV, nabbed an average 9.43 million pairs of eyeballs in the 8-9:20pm slot. When the two shows went head-to-head from 8-8:20pm, however, The Voice had a hard lead with an average of 8.96 million viewers compared to Britain’s Got Talent’s 6.56 million. Overall, Britain’s Got Talent had a 41.1% share; The Voice took a 37.6% share. Simon Cowell has returned to Britain’s Got Talent to give it a shot in the arm, but the launch numbers this year did not line up with 2011 when 9.9 million Brits tuned in. New judges alongside Cowell include comic actor David Walliams and singer Alesha Dixon. The Voice has singer Jessie J, hip hop artist Will.i.am and Welsh crooner Tom Jones. Last year, the BBC and ITV were locked in a bidding war for The Voice with BBC1 ultimately winning out. The two broadcasters have since waged a scheduling battle as ITV moved the return of Britain’s Got Talent to air on the same day as The Voice launch. Britain’s Got Talent usually debuts in April. Meanwhile, it’s been reported …
Deadline contributor Tim Adler files this international report:
Simon Cowell will return as one of the judges on next year’s Britain’s Got Talent, ITV boss Adam Crozier has confirmed. The X Factor impresario will resume his seat on the talent show following the recent exits of judges David Hasselhof and Michael McIntyre. Speaking to press this afternoon in London, the ITV boss also hinted that ITV Studios may be in the market to buy an American production company, pointing out that the U.S. is the second-liveliest market for independent TV producers apart from the UK. For now though, Crozier is concentrating on wiping out the £612 million worth of debt he inherited by year’s end. “When you inherit something that isn’t working, the worst thing you can do is start bolting things on,” he said.
Michael Harrison, producer of I Dreamed A Dream, the musical biography of Susan Boyle that starts its out-of-town UK tour in March 2012, tells me he is in talks with U.S. impresarios about bringing the show to America. “Obviously there is huge potential for the show in America, so that is very much part of the plan,” he says. I Dreamed A Dream is the musical life story of Boyle, 50, who was a dumpy Scottish misfit before Simon Cowell sprinkled his stardust over her and she became the Britain’s Got Talent and YouTube singing sensation. Boyle will step out onstage at the show’s finale and sing the show tune that made her famous. The clip of her singing I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables has had 300 million YouTube hits to date. And her Grammy-nominated debut album has sold just over 10 million copies, while follow-up The Gift racked up another 4 million. The British tour kicks off in Newcastle and then travels around the provinces — although surprisingly there is no London date. “The West End will come later,” Harrison assures me. Elaine C Smith, a British actress who starred in the West End stage version of Calendar Girls, will play Boyle onstage. Presumably they will have to find an American star to play Boyle in the U.S. version. So (deep breath), which American actress would be right to play SuBo, as she’s affectionately known over here?