'X Factor' Ratings Prove Simon Cowell Lost His Star Power

Hey, remember when Simon Cowell boasted that The X Factor was going to pull down 20 million viewers per episode, and anything less than that would be a failure? Yeah, he's kind of hoping you don't remember that, actually, because it turns out he was a little bit off. And by "a little bit," I mean "several million."

While American Idol averaged a whopping 25.2 million viewers last season, The X Factor has only reached around 12 million viewers. That's still a crap-ton of people, of course, but now that the massive hype has fizzled, Cowell is having to eat his words. Or more specifically, Fox is, by compensating advertisers for the ratings the network wasn't able to deliver.


The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Fox had been selling ads at or above upfront market prices, which averaged $400,000 for a 30-second spot. But it seems they may have dropped their rates lately, because some media buyers are saying they've been getting spots for as low as $280,000-$300,000. The Journal also reports that Fox is compensating disappointed marketers with additional ad time on the show.

As for Cowell, he's backed off his initial predictions, saying,

(...) I'm kind of back in the real world and I'm seeing this grow naturally. I'm as happy as I've ever been. (...) I'm humbled, but still competitive. We’re gonna get there in the end. I do believe that.

I can't say I'm surprised that The X Factor hasn't gone head to head with American Idol. I mean, how many singing competitions do Americans really want to watch these days? Between Idol, The Voice, The Sing-Off, and X Factor, people have got to be getting tired of watching amateur performers angling for a record deal.

Of course, according to Cowell, he couldn't be happier that his show has some stiff competition:

We're not in Russia where you have one show. This is life. If you're competitive and it spurs you on, I kind of get excited by it.

Yeah, Russia, sucks to be you. Here in America we believe in the power of unoriginal programming! ешь меня!

The funny thing is I'm sure Cowell has believed all along that he was the reason for Idol's success, and that viewers would happily follow him to a new show. It must be humbling for him to realize he's not the sole key to a show's instant popularity, and that they're going to have to put in some hard work to make The X Factor stand out in an over-saturated reality market.

Are you watching The X Factor? Do you like it as much as American Idol?

Image via The X Factor

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