It’s probably some of both. By most standards, launching a show to 12.5 million viewers and a 4.4 rating among adults 18-49 (those numbers are up slightly from “X Factor’s” fast national ratings) in the current TV climate is cause for celebration, or at least substantial sighs of relief. And “The X Factor” did do better than anything FOX has had on fall Wednesdays since the “Melrose Place” era.
But when the man in charge — Cowell, who left “American Idol” to bring “The X Factor” in the United States (he created the format) — has said he would consider anything under 20 million viewers a failure, well, that has to be considered too.
We doubt that FOX is in panic mode, because again, “The X Factor” is still a sizable upgrade over what came before (and should be again with Thursday’s show). The network has to hope that the show will follow the pattern that “American Idol” did — and, for that matter, the U.K. “X Factor” as well — in its first season, a good-but-not-world-beating premiere that built over time and eventually spawned a huge hit.
]]>“The Voice,” which NBC
fast-tracked to beat “The X Factor” onto the air, opened to similar
viewer numbers (about 11.8 million) and a somewhat higher demo number
(5.1) in the spring.
The fact that “The X Factor” was not a
world-beater was also good news for the other networks Wednesday. A few
other notes on the night:
– “Modern Family”
capitalized on its second straight Emmy win for best comedy with its
best showing ever. Its hour-long season premiere drew 14.5 million
viewers and a 6.1 rating among adults 18-49; the latter number is second
only to the monster opening for “Two and a Half Men” this week. Fellow
ABC comedy “The Middle” (9.7 million, 3.1 demo) also pulled in some of its best ratings ever, and the network’s new drama “Revenge”
(10 million, 3.3) led its hour among adults 18-49 and provided a
glimmer of hope in what’s been a terrible timeslot for ABC in recent
– CBS continued its usual solid performance. “Survivor: South Pacific” was down a little bit from its premiere last week, but “Criminal Minds” was on par with its opening last year and “CSI” pulled in decent numbers (12.7 million, 3.2), albeit on the low end of its historical performance.
– NBC’s “Up All Night”
(6.05 million, 2.4) took an expected hit with its move to 8 p.m. but
came out more or less OK against the heavy competition. The same can’t
be said for “Free Agents” (3.9 million, 1.3) or “Harry’s Law” (7.5 million, 1.2), which fell significantly from its average last season. “Law & Order: SVU” (7.6 million, 2.4) perked up the demo numbers some but still had its worst season premiere ever.