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Watch Strictly AND The X Factor

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With Strictly Come Dancing returning this weekend, now is usually the time to decide between that and The X Factor. This year is different, though: BBC and ITV have agreed to avoid clashes between the series where possible. This is obviously great news for fans of both shows, but what about those who’ve already picked a side? Can they get wooed into watching both?

The last time Strictly had more viewers than The X Factor it was 2007--the year Alesha Dixon won with her dance partner Matthew Cutler. Then, the dancing show was beating its rivals week in, week out. The X Factor was lucky to draw in a respectable number of viewers; the format was becoming increasingly stale, and the quality of the singers was poor (Leon Jackson was hardly a worthy winner). Leona Lewis is a rare, exceptional talent.

But while Strictly has still been attracting good numbers, it’s struggled to keep up with the rise of The X Factor. The singing competition won back Saturday nights in 2008 with the addition of judge popstar Cheryl Cole and a decent group of finalists. Since then, Strictly’s struggled to compete. The X Factor is now ludicrously popular, no doubt helped by the numerous watercooler moments: Laura White’s supposedly shock exit, Diana Vickers’ “marmite” voice, and the entertainingly bad Jedward, to name a few.

According to official figures, 7.46 million tuned into this year’s Strictly launch on September 11--that’s 4 million less than that day’s X Factor, which it overlapped in the schedule. This, despite one of Strictly’s strongest line-ups to date (we’ve actually heard of this year’s contestants) and a revamped set. There wasn’t any competitive dancing on this show, though, so we expect a rise on Saturday when the competition starts properly.

When the agreement was made between BBC and ITV, the latter stated the obvious: that the lack of direct competition will benefit them. An ITV spokesperson told The Telegraph: “Our priority is to ensure as many viewers as possible enjoy The X Factor as the series unfolds. It is not in anyone’s interest for the audience to be torn between shows.” With The X Factor regularly dominating recent weekends, and the amount of gossip and news surrounding the series (Chloe’s supposed cocaine-snorting is currently making the rounds), it’s bound to be a juggernaut in the ratings this year, clash or no clash. It’s had a head-start after all.

The BBC welcomed the idea of avoiding overlaps too, but warned that it might not happen each week. They told TV.com: “There is only a small window on Saturday nights when Strictly can transmit due to other BBC scheduling commitments like the Lottery, BBC News, and Match of the Day.” The early shows, as you’ll see below, are covered at least. And this year’s Strictly is bound to gain more viewers as they won’t have to share them--it’s common sense.

The clear winners are the fans of both series. This Saturday, Strictly is scheduled to finish at 7.05pm--the same time The X Factor will start. And the following weekend, Strictly ends 15 minutes before The X Factor’s first live show of the current series. Strictly and The X Factor’s first result shows of the year don’t clash either. If this is an indication as to how the reality series are going to be scheduled, it looks like it’ll be extremely easy to keep up-to-date with both without having to resort to repeats, recordings, or online streams. Here’s the latest scheduling information so you can be prepared:

Friday, October 1
Strictly Come Dancing: 9:00pm - 10:00pm (first competitive show)

Saturday, October 2
Strictly Come Dancing: 6.00pm - 7.05pm
The X Factor: 7:05pm - 9.00pm

Sunday, October 3
The X Factor: 7.45pm - 9.00pm

Saturday, October 9
Strictly Come Dancing: 5.35pm - 7.30pm
The X Factor: 7.45pm - 10.15pm (first live show)

Sunday, October 10
Strictly Come Dancing: 7.30pm - 8.00pm (first results show)
The X Factor: 8.00pm - 9.00pm (first results show)

Are you happy that the ratings war between the two has cooled down?

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