The return of creator Simon Cowell and ousted former judge Cheryl Cole gave Saturday night’s “X Factor UK” Series 11 premiere a slight ratings bump.
An average 9.5 million viewers tuned in to the singing competition, which represents a 300,000 viewer increase over last year’s debut and a 700,000 increase over 2012’s season opener. Saturday night’s airing also reached a peak viewership of 10.6 million viewers.
See video: ‘X Factor UK’ Coming to America on AXS TV
ITV’s “The X Factor UK” was Saturday’s most watched program. It beat the second episode of BBC1’s “Doctor Who,” which was watched by 5.3 million viewers.
Cowell cited his return to the British competition as part of the decision not to continue with Fox’s American “X Factor” after three seasons.
Cole had served as a judge on the British talent show from 2008-2010. She was then tapped to judge on the American show, but was abruptly fired during the auditions. She would later sue “X Factor” U.S. producers for the balance of her contracted two seasons, receiving $1.8 million for the first season and undisclosed settlement for the second.
American fans of the show can still watch the UK version on cable channel AXS TV. On Sundays, the Saturday episode of “X Factor UK” will air at 8 p.m. ET. The elimination episodes kick off the following night, also at 8.