The BBC and ITV have been immersed in a ratings war for years, constantly trying to beat the other, especially when it came to their home-grown reality shows Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor. Unfortunately for the BBC, Strictly has consistently come off worse and now, it seems, they're fighting back in a big way.
It came as no huge shock when this year's Big Brother was revealed to be the least watched series in the show's history (its ratings have been sliding for years), but despite this early indication many may be surprised at the extent of the downturn felt across Channel 4 and its competitors. Unofficial audience figures released this morning report the worst August ratings slump in history for ITV1 and BBC, while Channel 4 attracted its lowest viewing figures in 25 years.
Kindly old ogre Simon Cowell enjoys himself a bit of hyperbole. He'll call someone's warbling on American Idol or The X Factor the Worst Thing Ever, even though many far worse delusional singing hopefuls have already trundled their way through. No one really notices, because there's only history on these shows when the producers decide they'd like it there. Simon is a master of knowing how to whip up a crowd and he does it eagerly and subtly, just sitting there pretending to look bored.
Scenes of screaming people are a familiar one for fans of The X Factor and they're ones that will become even more commonplace over the coming months, as crowds join the judges to mock -- we mean watch -- this year's auditions.
Simon Cowell didn't get to where he is just by telling people they suck (though that helped). The dude is just plain scary smart when it comes to business, and now he's leveraging his position to his advantage, much to the chagrin of Fox and their pocketbooks.