Talent show standoff on Saturday nights

You wait a few months for a talent competition and then 2 come along at once. A broadcasting row is threatening to break out over the Saturday night scheduling of the BBC’s new singing contest The Voice and ITV’s annual parade of self-deluding eccentrics labouring under the illusion that Britain’s Got Talent.

The BBC’s show sets out to be a cut above vulgar talent shows, with judges Tom Jones, Jessie J and Will.I.Am looking for an outstanding undiscovered singer. The ITV show tends to be a little broader in its definition of "talent".

The shows both launch on March 24. The Voice has been scheduled to run on BBC1 from 7.15pm to 8.30pm, while Britain's Got Talent has a 7.45pm to 9pm slot. There would be a substantial overlap between shows that are seeking very similar audiences.

ITV chiefs are fuming that The Voice will be scheduled opposite Britain’s Got Talent. "They could have played The Voice any time other than the spring," an ITV source told The Guardian. "We are frankly puzzled and amazed that they have decided to play it against Britain's Got Talent."

The BBC is maintaining the moral high ground, stating that, "The Voice UK is an incredibly exciting show and one we hope audiences of all ages enjoy. We took the unprecedented step of confirming our start date several weeks in advance to try and avoid any clashes with other broadcasters." In short, The BBC parked their tanks on ITV’s lawn and waited for the commercial broadcaster to back down.

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