The X Factor 2016 was the least watched series EVER

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The X Factor 2016 was the show's least watched series ever based on overnight viewing figures.

Stats out this week show that the latest run was watched by an average audience of 6.5 million viewers.

That's down 500,000 viewers on last year's series on average and the fifth consecutive yearly decline from the show's peak in 2010.

Since then the show has lost half its audience, as an average of 13 million viewers tuned in each weekend to watch the likes of One Direction, Cher Lloyd and Wagner six years ago.

The first series of The X Factor in 2004 averaged 7 million viewers, with this year's run the first to dip below that figure.

However The X Factor 2016 did start off much stronger, with over 8 million viewers for its auditions back in September.

Changes including the panel - with Cheryl, Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw replaced by Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger - together with the return of the room auditions seemed to work.

But the decisions at judges' houses, which even host Dermot O'Leary recently admitted to disagreeing with, proved controversial and may have prompted viewers to turn off.

The live shows averaged notably less than the pre-recorded audition stages, dragging down the show's overall average.

Despite the decline in ratings, ITV confirmed last month that The X Factor would be back for at least three more series.

The X Factor ratings over the years

Overnight series average, including +1 where applicable.

2004 - 7.0 million
2005 - 8.3 million
2006 - 7.9 million
2007 - 8.2 million
2008 - 9.7 million
2009 - 12.0 million
2010 - 13.0 million
2011 - 11.2 million
2012 - 9.1 million
2013 - 8.8 million
2014 - 8.1 million
2015 - 7.0 million
2016 - 6.5 million

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