According to a report from Entertainment Weekly, FOX and X Factor have begun talks on a possible 4th season. That’s right, the demise of X Factor is not a forgone conclusion, despite the terrible ratings.
The negotiations are for a “reduced number of episodes” and “some sources contend the show’s renewal odds have actually turned slightly in favor of the show coming back.”
The ratings have been an embarrassment. “The singing competition debuted down 38 percent among adults 18-49 from season 2 (which, in turn, was down from season 1)” reports EW. “Since then, Factor has hit one all-time-low rating after another.”
The reasons to bring it back have to do with the rest of the FOX slate, which hasn’t faired much better than the beleaguered singing show.
Wednesday’s edition of Factor is averaging 7.3 million viewers and a 2.4 rating in adults 18-49. Glee, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Bob’s Burgers, Dads, The Mindy Project and MasterChef Jr. are all averaging lower numbers (and that’s including DVR playback, which doesn’t much help reality shows). The only new Fox series this fall that’s out-averaging Wednesday’s Factor is Sleepy Hollow (not counting Almost Human, which just premiered this week).
Of course, those numbers are an average of the entire season. The show has been falling precipitously. The latest ratings are below 2.o. However, replacing 3 hours of the X Factor with something entirely new is still a gamble, that could go either way. Better to stick with the devil you know.
One option under consideration is to shorten the show–cutting down the competition episodes from two hours to one (American Idol at its ratings height, only aired 90 minutes a week, including results, during the live shows.) It could also go the way of Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance and air a combo performance/results show once a week.
Indications that X Factor 4 was still a thing came by way of a recent iCount survey being distributed asking fans for their opinions on possible show tweaks (expanding the 4 chair challenge to the audition phase).
FOX will probably wait until January to announce a renewal. X Factor 4 is not a done deal, but it’s definitely a possibility.