X Factor 'could be axed by ITV if ratings don't improve'

x factor six chair challenge nicole

The X Factor may not be renewed if ratings don't improve, it's been claimed.

Last year saw Simon Cowell pen a new £150 million deal with ITV for three more series of both The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent.

It means the shows are set to stay on air until the end of 2019 - but that could be the end of the road for The X Factor.

Overnight viewing figures for The X Factor sunk to a record new low on Sunday night.

Just 4.3 million viewers tuned in to the latest episode, the least watched ever for the ITV series since it started back in 2004.

x factor 2017 results caps 1

The Daily Star newspaper says that the "embarrassing" numbers could leave ITV considering axing the show for good at the end of the current contract if numbers don't improve.

"It used to be one of the real jewels in the crown for ITV," a source told the tabloid.

However ITV pointed out that the overnight ratings don't take into account those watching on catch up or via the internet.

Once some of those numbers are factored in, ratings rise to over 7 million per episode.

“The show performs well for younger audiences and it is an important part of ITV’s autumn schedule," a spokesperson for ITV added.

Meanwhile, last year's X Factor finalists have suggested the show should be rested for a year.

Matt Terry, who won The X Factor in 2016, said: "I think in the UK you don't realise how much you love something until it's gone. So I think it would work if they gave it a year off."

X Factor results
X Factor results

Matt told the Daily Star newspaper: "Everyone would be saying, 'Where is X Factor?' It could do the show the world of good. You always want what you haven't got."

And runner up to Matt in last year's final Saara Aalto agreed: "I actually think it would be a good idea to rest the show next year because at the moment TV is full of competitions."

For now, The X Factor is back this Saturday at 8:10PM and Sunday night at 7:30PM on ITV with the third round of live shows.

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