TV bosses call truce in Saturday night ratings war

TV bosses call truce in Saturday night ratings war

'Strictly Come Dancing' and 'The X Factor' won't clash on a Saturday night after bosses called a truce on their ratings war.

The BBC dancing show and the ITV talent searching programme had gone head-to-head in previous years, leaving viewers torn as to which one to watch, but now BBC One controller Jay Hunt and ITV1 boss Peter Fincham have come up with a new schedule so the shows will not be screened at the same time.

The news comes just days after 'X Factor' judge Simon Cowell hit out at the BBC for planning to make the two programmes clash as he said it wasn't fair to licence fee payers.

A BBC source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "We started the negotiations and they were with ITV and not Simon Cowell, although he should be happy with the result. At the end of the chat between Jay and Peter, there was no longer an issue regarding Saturday nights."

Last year, 'The X Factor' easily won the ratings war, with 19.1 million seeing the final while 11 million watched the end of 'Strictly'.

An ITV spokesman said of the decision: "Our priority is to ensure as many viewers as possible enjoy 'The X Factor' as the series unfolds. It is not anyone's interest for the audience to be torn between shows."

Simon, 51, had previously spoken of his annoyance at the BBC's plans to make the shows clash.

He said: "This is nothing more than being pathetic, childish and doing a disservice to people who pay the licence fee.

"We don't pay the licence fee for people to play games with ratings. It is completely and utterly wrong. We gave them the choice last year about time slots but they have this obsession with competing with us."

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