Private channel has best share in three years

ITV1, the U.K.’s most popular commercial terrestrial channel, is on course for a ratings bonanza after its most successful November for three years.

Last month, ITV1’s primetime viewing share was 28.4% thanks to stellar perfs from reality juggernauts “The X Factor” and “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!”

It’s good news for the cash-strapped broadcaster, which recently appointed Archie Norman as its new chairman, to replace Michael Grade, and is still hunting for a CEO.

“X Factor,” featuring Simon Cowell as a celebrity judge, has achieved a record-breaking run, according to ITV figures based on research by the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board.

To date, the sixth series of the show has averaged 11.6 million viewers and a 44.9% share while the new Sunday night results program is generating audiences in excess of 15 million.

“I’m a Celebrity,” benefitting from mass media hype after one of its contestants killed and ate a rat during a jungle challenge, averaged 8.5 million and a 34% share across its three-week season, making it the most popular U.K. version of the show since 2005.

ITV1 also scored with miniseries “Collision,” which averaged 7.5 million viewers for a 28% share when it was stripped across five nights at the start of November.

While ITV1 finally appears to be staging something of a comeback, Blighty’s other free-to-air terrestrial webs may be going off the boil.

Pubcaster flagship channel BBC1, for instance, had its worst November since 1993 registering a primetime share of 22.7%, according to ITV, although the BBC said the figure was 23%. This discrepancy is explained by the fact that ITV defines primetime as the period from 7 p.m. to 10.30 p.m., while rivals regard it as running from 6 p.m. to 10.30 p.m.

A BBC spokesman said, “Highlighting one particular month is not a significant indicator of quality, range or long-term performance.”

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