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.” READ MORE »
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.
Questions about Simon Cowell‘s participation in the UK version of The X Factor have been mounting since the Season 9 finale hit a six-year low in December. At the time, there were suggestions that the impresario would ride to the rescue of the ITV show he left in 2010, reclaiming his seat on the judging panel. While he will ramp up his involvement this year, I’ve confirmed that he will not be making a full-time return to the program.
Cowell told Hello magazine over the weekend that he is “definitely getting more involved and will have a role in the next series” of The X Factor UK. The show habitually airs in the fall; basically the same time as Fox’s U.S. version, on which he is a judge. There’s been speculation he could somehow do both, but I’m told instead that he’s likely to make timely special appearances.
Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment and YouTube today unveiled details about the March 20 launch of The You Generation, a global online audition channel. Launching in 26 countries, the channel will run a competition over 52 weeks with …
Simon Cowell is adding another stream to his talent scouting business. Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment’s joint venture, Syco, is hooking up with YouTube to launch global online talent contest, The You Generation. The contest opens to the public March 20 and will run for one year in an experiment aimed at discovering new talent. Entries are solicited from people with “unconventional and original talents” including musicians, photographers, makeup artists, magicians and chefs, Syco said. Wannabes will upload their videos to the You Generation YouTube channel in a different category every two weeks. They’ll then be judged by “professionals associated with Syco.” Prizes will be awarded every two weeks – though it’s not clear yet what the prizes will be – and there will be a grand prize at the end. The contest is available in 15 languages and 26 countries. Cowell’s already juggling the X Factor and Got Talent shows in the U.S. and the UK where he’s returning to judge Britain’s Got Talent‘s seventh season that kicks off in the spring. Click over for The You Generation promo in which Cowell freaks the hell out of some early contestants:
Creating a new pipeline for Simon Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment’s joint venture, Syco, Over the Top Productions will develop “innovative, niche TV productions to bring more new TV shows to market.” Syco global head of television, Nigel …
UPDATE PM: Sources close to the producers of X Factor confirm that Britney Spears indeed is out as a judge after one season. “The producers and Simon (Cowell) were having discussions over the holiday period about the year ahead. Britney had never been part of their plans for this year but realistically that was never going to come as a surprise to her either,” a source said. I hear Cowell and his team “have a pretty clear idea of the panel they would like for next season and discussions with one possible new judge have been going on for some time now.” The prospective new addition is expected to meet with Fox and the show’s producers in the next couple of weeks.
PREVIOUS AM: Let the annual circus program known as X Factor Judge Shakeup begin! The months of speculation that Britney Spears won’t be back as a judge on The X Factor next season reached fever pitch overnight, following a TMZ report out of Spears’ camp that she is “quitting” the Fox singing competition. The network and X Factor creator/executive producer/star Simon Cowell are not commenting, but it appears that Spears’ team has decided to get ahead of the story and position her exit from the show as “entirely her doing” so she can “focus on her music”. Sound familiar? Nicole Scherzinger, who was sacked as an X Factor judge last January, had her handlers feed E! a story that her firing from X Factor was her decision and her wanting “to focus back on her music career.”
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.
Simon Cowell’s The X Factor closed its 9th season on the UK’s ITV on Sunday night with the lowest audience for a finale since 2005 2006, according to overnight data reported by The Guardian. Declining figures this season have led to suggestions that a revamp is coming for the 10th series, the last the show has contracted with ITV. There are also suggestions that Cowell may need to return to the judging panel to save the show. Cowell made a special appearance on The X Factor UK in September, but while it helped the show win the night, it did not boost overnight ratings from the previous Cowell-less episode. Still, The Times of London writes today, “The X Factor may not be dead but either the end is nigh, or Cowell’s return is.”
This Sunday night’s season finale hit a peak of 12.8M with delayed viewings. Overall, an average 11.1M viewers (with delayed viewings) watched the two-hour show that aired from 7:40pm to 9:40pm for a 39.6% share. That was a 2M down from last year’s finale and more than 6M off the 2010 finale, The Guardian reports. Figures for the semi-final show last weekend were down 40% compared to 2010 when Cowell was still a judge, according to The Independent. (That season launched boy band One Direction.) Advertising revenues are also said to be down. ITV will generate about £85M in advertising coin from this season, according to The Guardian, about £15M down from its peak.
Fox’s The X Factor plans to acknowledge those hit by Hurricane Sandy, said Simon Cowell today. “I’m certain we’ll have a shout-out to those people on that side of the coast and say, you know, stay safe, be strong and we hope that the storm blows off as quickly as possible,” Cowell said Tuesday, the day before X Factor starts airing the first of two-nights-a-week live shows. But Cowell was dismissive about worries that coming on so soon after the uberstorm that battered the East Coast and knocked out power up and down the seaboard would hurt his show’s ratings. “I couldn’t care less,” he said. The producer/judge also said he hoped Fox could find a way to repeat the show for those on the East Coast without power or cable.