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The X Factor may NOT return to screens in 2021

The X Factor may NOT return to screens in 2021 after it was ‘rested’ this year following a decline in ratings

  • The long-running singing competition has been on ITV since 2004, but was ‘rested’ this year following a decline in ratings 
  • ITV’s director of television Kevin Lygo has admitted he isn’t certain if boss Simon Cowell will bring his show back to screens next year 
  • Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival, he said: ‘It’s not definitely returning, it might return. The format will be tweaked. 
  • He added: ‘When we talk about format changes, it was our most successful entertainment show for a decade and you need to be wary of changes’
  • The X Factor is contracted for one more series, but head boss Simon felt it was the ‘right time’ to put the show on a one-year break in 2020 

The X Factor might not return to screens in 2021, ITV bosses have admitted.

The long-running singing competition has been on ITV since 2004, but was ‘rested’ this year following a decline in ratings and an experimental format change that saw two special series – ‘The X Factor: Celebrity’ and ‘The X Factor: The Band’ – air in 2019.

ITV’s director of television Kevin Lygo has admitted he isn’t certain if boss Simon Cowell will bring his show back to screens next year, as there are no ‘definite’ plans in place.

Not coming back? The X Factor might not return to screens in 2021, ITV bosses have admitted

Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Kevin said: ‘It’s not definitely returning, it might return. The format will be tweaked. 

‘When we talk about format changes, it was our most successful entertainment show for a decade and you need to be wary of changes.

‘I’m sure X Factor will be back at some stage and it’s really when is the right moment. Simon controls it – when does he want it to come back and how does he want it to come back? And hopefully we can be part of that.’

The news that Simon had decided to ‘rest’ the series for 2020 emerged in February, shortly after the show was revamped with a celebrity series in 2019 that was won by former TOWIE star Megan McKenna. 

Break: The long-running singing competition has been on ITV since 2004, but was ‘rested’ this year following a decline in ratings and an experimental format change

The X Factor is contracted for one more series, but head boss Simon felt it was the ‘right time’ to put the show on a one-year break, so future series can benefit.

Sources told The Sun: ‘Simon wants to really think through the show and how to reinvigorate it for the future.

‘Although The X Factor is contracted for one more series, ITV totally understand the rationale behind the idea of resting it this year and want to give Simon and the team the time to do what they feel is right.’

The X Factor has long been running on ITV for the last 16 years. Its last traditional series to air was back in 2018, with judges Simon, Louis Tomlinson, Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda Field on the judging panel.  

Up in the air: ITV’s director of television Kevin Lygo has admitted he isn’t certain if boss Simon Cowell will bring his show back to screens next year, as there are no ‘definite’ plans in place

The X Factor was hit by its lowest ever ratings when the Celebrity series aired its first live show in 2019.

The ITV series recorded just 2.96 million viewers at one point, and by the last 15 minutes of the Celebrity special, just 2.99 million viewers were left.

Even with a 3.73 million peak, the ratings paled in comparison to the average viewing figures of 14.13 million that the show pulled in at its prime in 2010.

It marked the lowest ratings since the franchise began in 2004, but sources claim The X Factor still remains the highest watched show for 16 to 34 year olds.

Unsure: Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Kevin said: ‘It’s not definitely returning, it might return. The format will be tweaked’

It was only in December that reports claimed The X Factor would definitely be returning to ITV, with an insider exclusively telling MailOnline, at the time, that show bosses wanted to give the show overhaul to boost numbers next time round.

‘It is definitely going to be returning, however, ratings have dropped, so bosses want to make sure it’s given a bit of a revamp,’ they said.

While The X Factor was picked up for one more series by ITV in a new deal signed with Syco, Britain’s Got Talent has been commissioned until 2024.

In a statement Simon said: ‘I am thrilled our relationship with ITV is to continue for the foreseeable future. ITV has always been home to Britain’s Got Talent, The X Factor – and me! – and this long-term commitment shows the mutual respect in our partnership.’

Ratings: The X Factor was hit by its lowest ever ratings when the Celebrity series aired its first live show in 2019 (Megan McKenna pictured on The X Factor: Celebrity)

The news comes after Simon’s other UK talent show Britain’s Got Talent saw its semi-finals postponed for months due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

ITV confirmed this week the shows will finally air from September 5, but will not have Simon on the judging panel after the music mogul broke his back recently and had to undergo surgery.

Instead, Simon will be replaced by Ashley Banjo for the five pre-recorded episodes.

Ahead of the semi-finals, viewers will be able to watch a special programme titled ‘Britain’s Got Talent: The Finalists Revealed’, which was filmed back in February and sees the judges – Simon, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden, and David Walliams – decide who makes it through to the semis.

A post on the ‘BGT’ Instagram read: ‘The Judges have been deliberating, but who will make it through to the #BGT Semi-Finals?

‘Find out on Britain’s Got Talent: The Finalists Revealed, Sunday 30th August, 6:30pm on @itv and @wearestv1 (The Judges deliberation was filmed back in February 2020) (sic)’.

Beginnings: The X Factor’s original judging panel were (L-R) Simon, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh (pictured in 2005)

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