The rumours of The X Factor’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, we can assure you.
Fans of the show may have heard the whispers on social media over the last few days that ITV was considering dropping the next series of Simon Cowell’s talent competition even though auditions had started.
Just don’t start shovelling any dirt on The X Factor’s grave just yet! Digital Spy has learned from a show insider that Cowell and his panel of judges will be back on screens as planned.
“The X Factor has not been axed and will be back on ITV later this year,” a source told us.
What the show might look like is altogether different. The Mirror reports that Cowell, his producers and ITV are looking into an all-new celebrity format where the X Factor contestants would be soap stars, comedians and newsreaders. The civilian format would reportedly return in 2020.
His tweak certainly sounds a lot like the format of rival BBC Saturday reality competition show Strictly Come Dancing, only with singing instead of ballroom dancing.
It would also mean the auditions rounds that have become a staple of the show would either change drastically, or be cut.
Cowell is also reportedly considering featuring X Factor winners from around the world in some way, like he’s done with the hugely successful America’s Got Talent: The Champions.
We’ve reached out to ITV for comment on talk of an all-new celebrity format of the show.
Cowell previously experimented on a celebrity competition with 2006’s Battle of the Stars series, in which EastEnders’ Lucy Benjamin beat the likes of Chris Moyles, Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee, and runner-up Matt Stevens.
The judge let slip that Battle of the Stars could return last November, when he claimed that ITV had offered him a contract extension to renew The X Factor through 2022.
“We could probably do three years or five years. It makes a lot of money,” he said. “We got to a point years ago where we were able to compete with Strictly because there was that huge audience.
“We’re losing people now but fortunately the young audience has actually grown this year and all the advertisers and the sponsors want that income on a Saturday.”
While ratings for The X Factor have declined in recent years, it remains a steady performer for ITV in the key 16-34 demographic and a big hit on catch-up, mobile and online.