Ratings: X Factor Misses the Spot, Debuts Well Below Idol Numbers; ABC Has Very Good Night

Simon Cowell recently said, “You don’t compete for the silver or the bronze. You may not get the gold, but you die trying.”

Well, this Thursday morning he woke up to a mixed alloy, as the X Factor premiere fell well shy of American Idol numbers, lost audience throughout its two-hour run, and in total viewers placed third in the 9 o’clock hour behind Criminal Minds (which was on par with its year-ago opener) and a double helping of Modern Family (aka the night’s most-watched and top-rated program).

The X Factor Series Premiere: What Was Your Favorite Act? Take Our Poll!

Based on household ratings, X Factor was “up” versus Idol‘s own series premiere — but that aired in the summer of 2002, if you and Ryan Starr remember. Compared to Idol‘s first “in-season” premiere as well as its most recent season opener, X Factor was down sharply.

With the fast nationals now in, and going hour-by-hour….

8 pm | X Factor led in viewers/the demo, followed by Survivor (10.4 million/3.1, dipping from premiere). The Middle (9.6 mil/3.0) gained versus its previous premiere and matches its all-time demo high. Moving to its regular (maybe now temporary?) time slot, NBC’s Up All Night (6 mil/2.3) plunged from last week’s AGT-inflated sneak preview, as did Free Agents. The CW’s H8R is now mustering barely a million viewers, while its demo hit an unhead-of 0.4.

9 pm | Modern Family (14.3 million/6.0) topped all of Wednesday in both measures, building on last year’s opener by 13 and 20 percent, respectively. It was followed by Criminal Minds‘ 14.1 mil/4.1 (on par with a year ago), then the back end of X Factor. Harry’s Law (7.3 mil/1.2!) tumbled hard no matter how you slice it – versus its Monday freshman premiere or what SVU did here a year ago. Top Model (1.6 mil/0.8) slid 18 and 11 percent.

10 pm | Ted Danson’s CSI (12.6 mil/3.1) won the hour in viewers while ABC’s Revenge (10.1 mil/3.4) topped the demos. The “new” SVU placed a distant third with 7.6 mil/2.3 (down double digits from 2010).

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  1. The Nameless says:

    That’s okay, I was watching the awesome season premiere of UFC’s “The Ultimate Fighter”. 16 fights, 8 KOs, 5 submissions, 3 decisions and a couple of upsets. Much better than some overhyped singing competition that mirrors all the other overhyped singing competitions.

  2. Sivat says:

    I wanna know how Revenge did. It was okay, I’d watch another episode, but I don’t want to get invested if it’s going to be cancelled soon. Same with Playboy Club.

    • Jessica says:

      Ditto on Revenge. ABC has a knack for cancelling new shows that I actually watch. I’ll definitely be back next week for Revenge. I wish they’d die Emily’s hair a different shade of blonde. Have any ideas for who shot Danny?

    • Andrea says:

      I loved Revenge, I’m hooked; and like Playboy Club a lot more than I expected to. I really hope they don’t get cancelled too early. Was excited about the X Factor, but found it really boring last night. Unfortunately, it may not be given enough time to work out the kinks, in today’s competitive environment. Good to see Simon and Paula together again, Cheryl Cole was fine, but I expected a lot more feedback from LA Reid.

    • renee says:

      revenge was too much like ringer … shows i can follow by reading the reviews then tune in to the last episode to see how they’re wrapped up.

  3. Clarissa says:

    mwahahah can we blame this on Simon getting rid of Cole? It was my reason for changing the channel (watched the hot mess that is Top Model instead)!

    • S says:

      Same with me!

    • Jessica says:

      I definitely did not tune in because Cole is no longer a fixture of the show. I was amped up in the spring when I found out she was a judge then when she was gone I completely lost interest. Granted that may not have been why it didn’t start with a bang….

  4. GS says:

    Watched 5 minutes and it was just like Idol with different judges. I turned to CBS and stayed there through Survivor and Criminal Minds.

  5. Achilles927 says:

    Going up against Survivor, Modern Family & Criminal Minds is tough. Gotta love the DVR. I also lost some faith in the 2nd hour mostly because Cheryl Cole was gone. I thought she was charming, funny and most importantly…real. I also didn’t find her difficult to understand. She was quiet at times, but not unintelligible. I think Simon made the most critical error right there – replacing her with Nicole who I found annoying and fake. Maybe her and Paula trying to out-crazy each other is supposed to make for good ratings but I didnt care for it. The acts that were put through were surprising because many of those same people would NEVER have gotten past Simon on Idol. So now it calls the whole process to task.Right now its too much a clone of Idol and AGT -maybe when they get to the mentoring stage it will get more interesting.

  6. Chmarin says:

    It’s #3 in HH ratings, it should end up #2 in A18-49, it will beat Criminal Minds.

    Modern Family is up 11%, yay! :)

  7. Kenbud says:


    I can see it easily being the sleeper hit of the fall season. Madeleine Stowe is a fantastic villain.

  8. Christina says:

    Serves Simon right for creating all that drama with Cheryl Cole where there needed to be none.
    I watched it on DVR frankly because I knew it would be over bloated. Looks like Idol will still reign supreme!

  9. Dods says:

    The only thing good about X Factor was Cheryl Cole… It was so boring after she left!

  10. scooterbeanbag says:

    Glad to hear Revenge did well. It definitely a solid premiere and left me excited for next week.

  11. Ellen says:

    Frankly, I was inclined to wander off from X Factor after the first hour, but the ridiculous penis-flashing audition sealed the deal for me. I felt insulted. It’s not like this is a live program. The whole scene was so tawdry and forced and cynical.

    Other than that, it struck me as a heavily processed American Idol without the boring repetition. Oh, except that the obligatory “bad auditions” were still boring.

    Agreed on Cheryl Cole.

    I’ll watch the show again, but not until they get into the competition and grow up a little.

  12. Boiler says:

    THANK GOD!!! Go Modern Family

  13. bmc9999 says:

    I stayed with The Middle and Modern Family. There is a talent show glut and frankly way too many cluttering up a great fall lineup of new shows. I didn’t watch Revenge because the initial reviews were not too favorable and since ABC has a history of cancelling shows quickly, I didn’t want to be disappointed if I liked it and it was gone.

  14. Jason says:

    Fingers crossed for Revenge. Great job by Emily Van Camp and Madeleine Stowe.

    • ChrisGa says:

      Yep, as much as I love Sarah Michelle Gellar, I thought REVENGE’s premiere was better than RINGER’s. Madeleine Stowe and Emily VanCamp were both fantastic and the numbers were far better than THE WHOLE TRUTH a year ago so maybe this one has a shot. Here’s hoping.

  15. JJ says:

    X-Factor was pretty good overall but up against the super hot Modern Family is tough competition.

    I think the Cheryl Cole decision is now evident as we’ve all see her on camera and she wasn’t remotely “bewildered” but was real, interesting and utterly charming. As a viewer it was quite jarring to have the Nicole “ME!!!” show up to attempt to replace Cheryl. Sorry Cowell, you made the wrong call there.

  16. Fan fair says:

    So glad to see the return of A.J.Cook (JJ) and Paige Brewster (Prentiss) to the Criminal Minds team. Last night’s season opener was great and the team’s “vibe” is back. Looking forward to more great episodes this season. Also watched Revenge last night and, although it has a soap opera feel, it was somewhat entertaining. The way some of the “dirt” was exposed by Amanda was actually quite amusing. Although, Revenge is not a show I would look forward to with anticipation each week (I reserve that spot for Criminal Minds), if there is anything else on to watch, Revenge would be entertaining.

  17. solikemybeth says:

    Don’t know what all the full is about Cheryl/Nicole. Two of the same as far as I’m concerned. What I was surprised about was how little personality was shown by both LA Reid and the host (or whoever was doing the outside/backstage duties). Simon sure did a piss poor job picking those two – they both put me to sleep and did what I never thought could happen – they made me miss Ryan Seacrest!

  18. Toots says:

    I am not a JLo fan, she was a horrible Idol judge as well as Randy. It’s great that Simon is back on XFactor and I’m excited to continue with the show. The numbers are down for the debut only because there were so many premieres last night.

  19. Davey says:

    I watched parts of Up All Night, Free Agents and Harry’s Law. All entertaining and improvements over last year’s NBC programming.

    • ChrisGa says:

      I missed the premiere, but I did catch the second ep of UP ALL NIGHT last night. Have to say I enjoyed it alot; Christina Applegate is pure gold any day of the week in my book and the added bonus of a hilarious Maya Rudolph and a refreshingly laid-back Will Arnett only enhances the proceedings. I’m crossing my fingers on this one.

  20. Ashley says:


  21. Jen says:

    I stuck with ABC for the whole night as planned and wasn’t disappointed. Revenge was quite good and I’m looking forward to next week. Hope it doesn’t get canceled!

  22. Dee says:

    I was watching CRIMINAL MINDS and Survivor. These talent shows became tiresome long ago.

  23. Ashley says:

    I watched “Up All Night” and “Criminal Minds”. I have no interested in watching “X Factor” (of course, I’ve never seen an episode of “American Idol” either…).

  24. josh says:

    People should be comparing XF premiere to the VOICE premiere

  25. Steve says:

    Sorry but the show was boring. I missed Cheryl Cole – I would dump Scherzinger who adds nothing and came across very annoying. This show was Idol 2.0 with a bit of Got Talent auditions in front of big audiences, the host backstage with the family, and major sob stories. Forget talent – if you don’t have a good backstory so you can get pimped by the judges you won’t advance. They had mediocre people go th rough and enough with the bad joke contestants. Make this a variety show not a comedy. And we really don’t need a guy with pants off in front of 12 year olds and a family viewing audience. Really? Producers couldn’t have yanked him off the stage? Just all seems very forced and staged. Just really was let down based on all the hype. Im sure the ratings will increase and maybe the live shows will be better but I didn’t think XF was at all revolutionary.

  26. Pat says:

    Could only stand to watch it for 15 or 20 minutes. The whole thing was too noisy, too contrived, and too boring. Sorry, Simon, I vote four NO’s on this one. It’s a dud.

  27. Tess says:

    the X-factor was kinda lame,why was Simon so nice? He allowed those horrible singers to go through wtf? N poor NBC they need a hit show really bad. Fox will kill them all on Monday with that Terra Nova crap.

  28. Hols says:

    I don’t think there’s a way that I can properly express through written word how very little I care about “X-Factor”.

  29. Lauren says:

    I hope Revenge keeps getting good numbers. I loved the premiere but I was worried it wouldn’t do well.

  30. salim says:

    i live in the uk and am about to watch criminal minds, modern family and from your commment revenge

  31. Jay says:

    I have been watching the UK X Factor for years and have been eagerly awaiting its US Primiere. I wasn’t disapointed but I also knew what I was getting. It’s great to have a double dose of X Factor this year.

    On the UK show, Kelly Rowland is so far my favorite judge, Simon should consider bringing her onto the show next year and fire Nicole.

    I am hoping we get to see a US version of Wagner, Jedward or even One Direction.

    As far as the comparisons to AGT that makes total sense since it’s Simon Cowell’s show, he came up with that particular audition concept.

    The Voice is actually a rip off of X Factor, it just that it primered first in this country.

  32. Ozzy says:

    X Factor is crap . Simon Cowell is a prat. The MC is no Seacrest. Fail.

  33. TigerNightmare says:

    Am I the only one who was beyond bored by Revenge? And I’m a fan of both Emily Van Camp and Madeleine Stowe.

  34. cj says:

    everyone talking about the X factor blablabla, but you know why Up All Night and Free Agents got bad ratings? because their premieres have been aired like a cagillion times over the last week. at least thrice. call it fatigue, but i got bored watching the same people again. and yeah, they need a better time slot. going up against the middle and the X factor?? goooooooood luck with that one.

  35. Lois says:

    Didn’t like them getting rid of Cheryl. Nicole is a no-talent diva, and annoying. I did like the guy hosting.

  36. Llana says:

    talk about American Idol warmed over!!!!! only difference was the Pepsi cups in front of the judges instead of the Coca Cola cups. And 4 judges instead of three.
    Also what was the point of showing the guy who sang? and danced with his pants down showing his genitalia? was it for the shock value?

  37. Cat says:

    After the pretty unfunny premiere of Up All Night last week I wasn’t expecting much but this week was hilarious. I hope it coninues to be as funny as last night. Such a huge improvement!

  38. Amber says:

    Modern Family, The Middle, and SVU over here. I keep meaning to try Up All Night. I owe Will Arnett and Christina Applegate that much for the years of humorous shows they have given me. I originally had no intention of trying Revenge because the previews looked so stupid…”This is not a show about forgiveness…” Please, I kinda got that from the title. I might try it though if people are claiming it’s that good. SVU I did not like at all. When Olivia shed those tears of sadness over Elliot not returning, I pretty much wanted to cry with her. I hate that he’s gone. And I already can’t stand that Kelli McGillish, or whatever her name is. But, Cabot and Cutter were both on the ep, so….that almost made up for the show’s losses. Almost.

  39. that gurl says:

    Revenge is a solid show.

  40. William says:

    I dont know about the next person, the X factor X files generation X ,then XXX’s but back to back, no way oh ya american got talent also good luck but it was Cool.