The X Factor looks set to be rucked off the park next year, with ITV planning to switch live shows to Sunday to make way for live Rugby World Cup coverage on Saturday evenings.
Simon Cowell’s talent show has been a staple of ITV’s Saturday evening schedule since launching in 2004, but a string of clashes with fixtures in rugby union’s world cup event will result in the main live show moving to Sunday nights for at least some of 2015’s 12th series.
ITV is facing five The X Factor clashes on Saturday evenings throughout September and October 2015, including high-profile England pool games against Wales and Australia and possibly a quarter final which are all scheduled to kick off at 8pm.
The broadcaster intends to air the “vast majority” of the 48 Rugby World Cupmatches live on its flagship ITV channel, with only a handful of contests among smaller rugby-playing nations expected to be aired on ITV4, according to sources.
This leaves The X Factor, ITV’s ratings crown jewel which makes more than £100m a year, in the unique position of losing its Saturday night berth.
The X Factor would encounter three rugby match clashes on Friday nights, including England v Fiji.
“The World Cup comes once every four years and it is only the second time it has been in England, it is lucrative and has to be a cornerstone of the schedule,” said one senior TV executive. “The X Factor obviously remains incredibly important to ITV and the two big events will be worked into the schedule.”
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