‘Voice’ tops ‘X Factor’ head to head

Showdown predictably results in lower scores for both

With momentum on its side, NBC’s third night this week of “The Voice” bested Fox’s season premiere of “The X Factor” on Wednesday in a rare head-to-head battle of music talent shows.

“X Factor” surged when “Voice” left the air at 9 o’clock, and a strong second hour lifted the Fox show into a tie with the NBC program as the night’s top draw among young adults.There were really no winners, though: Both shows were negatively impacted my the match-up and probably lost a ratings point apiece.

They aren’t scheduled to go head-to-head regularly, but NBC, feeling it had the stronger hand to play, made a late decision to blunt the return of the “X Factor,” which was introducing new judges Britney Spears and Demi Lovato, by adding a third installment on Wednesday.

Last week, “X Factor” judge Simon Cowell stirred the pot on a conference call with reporters by calling NBC’s move a “spoiling tactic” and “meanspirited” and saying that the Peacock had broken “a kind of gentleman’s agreement” that the shows not go head to head.

Beginning next week, “The Voice” will contain to its normal Monday-Tuesday sked, while “X Factor” continues its regular Wednesday-Thursday sked.

Looking at the Wednesday estimates from Nielsen that include same-night DVR playback, NBC’s “The Voice” averaged a 3.4 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 and 10.89 million viewers overall in the 8 o’clock hour, down from the 4.2 demo score it opened with on Monday and its 4.0 on Tuesday. Head to head, it beat Fox’s “X Factor” by 17% in 18-49 rating (3.4 to 2.9) and by 42% in total viewers (10.89m to 7.72m).

For its two hours, the second-season premiere of “X Factor” averaged a 3.4/10 in 18-49 and 8.73 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m., down from last year’s 4.4 demo score for its premiere (opposite tough competish during premiere week) and 11% lower than the show’s same-night Wednesday average for all of last season (3.8).

The show spiked in its second hour, when its 3.9/11 in 18-49 put it ahead of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 11.05m). From 8 to 10, “X Factor” beat the combined NBC reality shows in 18-49 (3.4/10 vs. 3.2/9); the NBC combo led in total viewers (10.97m vs. 8.73m).

While “X Factor” and “The Voice” tied in 18-49 for the night, the NBC show prevailed among the women in the demo (4.4 to 4.1) while the Fox skein led among men (2.7 to 2.4). “X Factor” was the leader among the 12-34 crowd (3.0 to 2.8), and “Voice” in 25-54 (4.1 to 3.8).

NBC on Wednesday followed “America’s Got Talent” with a new episode of comedy “Guys With Kids” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.25m) and an encore of the pilot episode from another new comedy that recently bowed on the net, “The New Normal” (1.3/4, 3.81m). “Guys” will be paired with fellow rookie comedy “Animal Practice” in Wednesday’s 8 o’clock hour, with original episodes beginning Sept. 26.

Elsewhere, CBS’ “Big Brother” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 6.19m) and CW’s “Oh Sit” (0.4/1, 0.88m) held steady despite the three competing reality shows. All other broadcast shows aired in repeats.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Donick Cary and Kumail NanjianiYoung Literati

    Comedy Central Inks First-Look Animation Deal With Donick Cary

    Comedy Central has signed a first-look animation producing deal with Donick Cary, best known for his work as a former head writer for “The Late Show with David Letterman” and co-executive producer of “The Simpsons” and other shows. Under the terms of his deal, Cary will develop and produce animation projects across all platforms for [...]

  • 'The Boondocks' Revival Lands at HBO

    'The Boondocks' Revival Lands at HBO Max

    HBO Max has ordered a two-season revival of the animated series “The Boondocks.” The 24 new episodes, as well as all 55 episodes of the original series, will launch on the forthcoming streaming service in Fall 2020. The show is based on Aaron McGruder’s comic strips, and the original creator is on board once again [...]

  • TV Ratings: 'America's Got Talent' Tops

    TV Ratings: 'America's Got Talent' Tops 'Bachelor in Paradise' Finale

    After a recent ratings slump, NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” bounced back last night to top ABC’s “The Bachelor in Paradise” finale in the ratings. The penultimate episode of season 14 of “AGT,” which saw the contestants give their last performances before Wednesday’s final results, scored an eight-week high 1.6 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, [...]

  • Darren StarTune In! Variety's TV Summit,

    'Sex and the City' Creator Darren Star Joins Mipcom Speaker Lineup

    “Sex and the City” creator Darren Star is set to deliver a Media Mastermind Keynote at Mipcom, the Cannes-set international TV showcase. During a session moderated by Jill Offman, the executive VP of Paramount Network International and Comedy Central International, Star will give his perspective on creativity and is expected to discuss the series he [...]

  • Kate del castillo

    Kate del Castillo Signs Development Deal with Endemol Shine Boomdog (EXCLUSIVE)

    Endemol Shine Boomdog, the Mexico City-based division of Endemol Shine North America, has signed a development pact with actress Kate del Castillo and her fledgling Cholawood Productions company. Founded by Del Castillo and her partners, entertainment industry exec Carmen Cervantes and journalist Jessica Maldonado, Cholawood will be based out of Endemol Shine’s Los Angeles headquarters. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content