X Factor viewing figures drop to lowest numbers since 2004

The X Factor was back with a brand new panel this weekend.

And after Simon Cowell‘s flagship singing competition returned to our screens on Saturday night, it has emerged that viewing figures have dropped to the lowest since the ITV show’s launch in 2004.

However, the opening episode of series 15 – featuring new judging line-up Louis Tomlinson, Robbie Williams and Ayda Field – was still the most watched programme on television on Saturday night.

Decline in ratings: The X Factor's viewing figures have dropped to the lowest since the ITV show's launch in 2004. The show was back with a bang on Saturday night, featuring new judges Robbie Williams, Ayda Field and Louis Tomlinson, as well as show boss Simon Cowell

Decline in ratings: The X Factor's viewing figures have dropped to the lowest since the ITV show's launch in 2004. The show was back with a bang on Saturday night, featuring new judges Robbie Williams, Ayda Field and Louis Tomlinson, as well as show boss Simon Cowell

Decline in ratings: The X Factor’s viewing figures have dropped to the lowest since the ITV show’s launch in 2004. The show was back with a bang on Saturday night, featuring new judges Robbie Williams, Ayda Field and Louis Tomlinson, as well as show boss Simon Cowell

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The X Factor returned with a total of 5.7 million viewers – down 500,000 on last year’s initial auditions show.

Despite the dip in ratings, however, The X Factor remained the most watched programme on TV on Saturday night across all channels.

Ratings don’t take into account viewers who watch The X Factor via repeats, online and on mobile – and the launch show pulled in a staggering 5 billion viewers on YouTube.

It launched with 5.7 million viewers and a 34 per cent share of viewing, up by two share points on last year’s launch.

The episode peaked with 6.3 million viewers, a 3 per cent share, and had a 48 per cent share of 16-34s viewing.

Still taking the crown: Nevertheless, The X Factor remained the most watched programme on TV on Saturday night across all channels and was watched by 5.7 million people 

Still taking the crown: Nevertheless, The X Factor remained the most watched programme on TV on Saturday night across all channels and was watched by 5.7 million people 

Still taking the crown: Nevertheless, The X Factor remained the most watched programme on TV on Saturday night across all channels and was watched by 5.7 million people 

Following the debut episode, Dreamer is back in the charts – currently No.8 in the iTunes Chart – and Robbie’s classic hit Angels is No.40, showing the impact the series still has on the British public.

The X Factor boasted over 2 million more viewers than any other show on TV on Saturday evening.

On BBC One, Casualty pulled in 3.8 million viewers, the most watched show of the night for the channel.

3.6 million peopled tuned into Celebrity Catchphrase before The X Factor on ITV, and afterwards The Jonathan Ross Show’s new series launched with 2.2 million. 

Meanwhile, Celebrity Big Brother’s controversial antics drew in 1.3 million over on Channel 5. 

Sunday night’s episode two of fell to 5 million viewers from the 5.7 on Saturday, down a total of 1.5 million viewers on 2017’s debut Sunday night show. 

Tuning in: It launched with 5.7million viewers and a 34 per cent share of viewing, up by two share points on last year's launch

Tuning in: It launched with 5.7million viewers and a 34 per cent share of viewing, up by two share points on last year's launch

Tuning in: It launched with 5.7million viewers and a 34 per cent share of viewing, up by two share points on last year’s launch

ITV boss Kevin Lygo recently defended the show’s declining ratings – explaining it still remains one of the most watched programmes on TV. 

He said: ‘X Factor, more than any other show, it’s been running a long time, ratings have been going down a bit, but it’s still…

‘The idea that you could launch a new show today that is as big as X Factor is now, I mean, our job is to keep it young, keep it good, keep it fresh.’   

As well as the brand new judging panel, the format has also been given a reboot this year.

The auditions are back in the arenas while bootcamp has been axed altogether in favour of a new ‘judges deliberation’ ahead of the six chair challenge. 

Simon has revealed to MailOnline what makes Louis such an exciting new addition to the show.

Revamped: As well as the brand new judging panel, the format has also been given a reboot this year, with the bootcamp stage scrapped 

Revamped: As well as the brand new judging panel, the format has also been given a reboot this year, with the bootcamp stage scrapped 

Revamped: As well as the brand new judging panel, the format has also been given a reboot this year, with the bootcamp stage scrapped 

Discussing his bond with 1D favourite Louis, the music mogul said he trusts the former boy band star’s opinion. 

‘There’s a really strong bond between us, we’ve always been close, Simon explained. 

‘From the beginning of One Direction I talked to Louis so much. So when we’ve been auditioning on X Factor in the past I’m always curious to hear what he likes. 

‘He knows I’m not a huge fan of all the guitar acts, so we wind each other up about that. You want people with strong opinions. 

‘He keeps calling me the gaffer which I think is hysterical. I’m not the gaffer, but he knows me well enough that we just take the mickey out of each other!’

Quizzed whether Louis could take over his empire in future, Simon enthused: ‘I hope he’ll be like me! Maybe he could be my successor…you never know! 

‘But seriously, I’ve met my match, I’ve got to admit it. All the judges this year have their own opinions, good ideas, it’s been really fun.’

MailOnline has contacted an X Factor spokesperson for comment. 

Honest and fun: Simon has revealed to MailOnline what makes Louis such an exciting new addition to the show

Honest and fun: Simon has revealed to MailOnline what makes Louis such an exciting new addition to the show

Honest and fun: Simon has revealed to MailOnline what makes Louis such an exciting new addition to the show

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