Battle of the talent shows still undecided

Simon Cowell might have allowed himself one of his menacing grins at the news that his Britain’s Got Talent show had outscored the BBC’s The Voice in the ratings, as the talent shows went head-to-head on Saturday nights. Once he scrutinised the figures though, he might have been more concerned.

The first BGT show pulled in an audience of 9.3 million, while The Voice scored 8.4 million. Some of the BGT viewers watched on the ITV +1 channel, which gave the BBC a narrow lead on head-to-head figures.

Cowell has already criticised the scheduling of The Voice, and has suggested it is not the kind of show that the BBC should be financing with licence-fee cash. The BBC has countered by alleging that BGT has shifted its normal schedule to confront the BBC show.

"Of course I love competition," Cowell said, "but if you ask do we need another singing talent show I would query whether you do or not. In my opinion they don't like the fact The X Factor is successful. They have every right to compete with us and we have every right to arm ourselves so we are in a good place to beat them."

BBC1 controller Danny Cohen was happy with the viewing figures for The Voice, featuring Jessie J, Will.I.Am and Tom Jones as judges. "It's fantastic that viewers have responded so warmly to the launch of The Voice," he said. "I hope that they continue to enjoy the quality of the show in the coming weeks."

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