“American Idol” pulled in 26 million viewers with its new panel of judges last season, so I figured that Simon Cowell’s “X Factor” would be equally as successful, especially with the way the British version crushed its predecessor “Pop Idol.” Well, not so fast: “X Factor” pulled in “only” 12 million viewers in its debut last night — very good numbers by industry standards, but well below what was expected given the hype.
X Factor debuted to 12.5 million viewers and a 4.4 adults 18-49 rating, while ABC’s Emmy-winning Modern Family delivered 14.3 million viewers and a whopping 6.0 series-high rating. The reality competition drew about half the audience of the most recent season opener of American Idol (which delivered about 26 million viewers and a 9.7 in the demo), a point of comparison that’s inevitable, but also arguably unfair given the top-rated legacy of the other show.
X Factor was significantly higher, however, than the debut of NBC’s fall singing competitionThe Sing Off, and was higher than the debut of Hell’s Kitchen in the slot last year. While a one-hour Modern Family not only won the night, but was up 18 percent from its premiere last fall. [EW]
I have a hard time accepting that ratings that big could be disappointing. “Community” and “Parks and Recreation” return tonight, and they’ll be lucky to get 4 million viewers (probably closer to 3). God, that’s depressing. I’d rather tour Ethiopia and Somalia than look at TV ratings all day.