The X Factor won't be cancelled for "a long time", the boss of ITV1 has said.
Peter Fincham told reporters at last week's Edinburgh TV festival that the reality show had "years" on the channel.
"It's not the 100m, it's the 10,000m. It's got years. Think Mo Farah not Usain Bolt," he explained. "It's an illusion to think that a show like The X Factor will go on a slide. People said that about Strictly after numbers fell for a couple of years and then it came back."
Asked about the ratings drop for this year's launch, which saw the lowest viewing figures since 2006, he replied: "Oh gosh, X Factor is here for a long time.
"Last Saturday's X Factor was more than twice the size of the next biggest show on television.
"The figures were down, but it was the hottest weekend of the year and I think it's not unreasonable to say in the immediate aftermath of the Olympics viewing figures have gone down. People gorged themselves on TV in the Olympics.
"How long has The X Factor got implies that it does have a finite life. I don't agree with that proposition."
The current contract for The X Factor on ITV expires in 2013, its tenth series.