Britain's Got Talent slips without Simon Cowell

The launch episode of 'Britain's Got Talent', the first without star judge Simon Cowell, had a peak audience of 11.6 million on Saturday night, down 5% on last year's opening programme.

David Hasselhoff: Baywatch actor joins Britain's Got Talent
David Hasselhoff: Baywatch actor joins Britain's Got Talent

Following the departure of Cowell and former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, the remaining judge Amanda Holden was joined by comedian Michael McIntyre and ‘Baywatch’ actor David Hasselhoff.

The peak 11.6 million viewing figure includes ITV’s time shifted channel ITV1+1. The five minute peak of the first showing of the programme on ITV1 and ITV1 HD was 10.94 million at 9.30pm, down 6% year on year.

‘Britain’s Got Talent’ was watched by 9.95 million viewers on ITV1 and ITV1 HD between 8.20pm and 9.50pm on Saturday, a 40.6% share, down from an average audience of 10.6 million, a 44% on ITV1 and ITV1 HD last year.

Across ITV1, ITV1 HD and ITV1+1 the 90 minute programme was watched by an average of 10.44 million viewers, a 43% share.

Cowell, who is set to launch his music competition ‘The X Factor’ in the US later this year, is expected to join ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ as a guest judge during the live stages of the competition.

ITV has also just confirmed that Cowell will not appear as a regular judge on this year’s ‘X Factor’. A spokesman for ITV said it was something the broadcaster was "completely comfortable with" and is still considering ways for Cowell to have an on-screen presence.

Despite the slight decline on last year’s ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ launch, ITV1 dominated Saturday peak time with an average of 7.8 million viewers between 7pm and 10.30pm, ahead of BBC One with 3.6 million viewers over the same period.

The new celebrity talent show ‘Sing If You Can’, in which celebrities sing while taking part in challenges and is presented by comedian Keith Lemon and ‘X Factor’ star Stacey Soloman, had an average audience of 5.33 million, a 26.0% share. A further 140,600 watched ‘Sing If You Can’ on ITV1 +1.

ITV1’s Saturday line up also included Morgan interviewing actor and comedian Russell Brand on ‘Piers Morgan’s Life Stories’, which had an audience of 4.13 million on ITV1 and ITV1 HD, a 19.9% share. A further 248,800 watched ‘Piers Morgan’s Life Stories’ on ITV1 +1.

The semi-final of the FA Cup, which saw Manchester City beat title race leaders Manchester United 1-0, was watched by an average of 6.40 million on ITV1 and ITV1 HD between 4.45pm and 7.15pm, a 38% share of the audience. An additional 94,900 watched the game on ITV1+1.

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