X Factor
The first episode of this year's X Factor attracted an average of 10.5million viewers.

The first episode of this year's X Factor attracted an average of 10.5million viewers.

Although the first show without Simon Cowell began with a positive 10.5 million viewers on ITV1 making it the second highest-rating launch, it is more than 500,000 down on last year's opener.

Saturday's launch episode of the new-look eighth season, featured three new judges in Gary Barlow, Kelly Rowland and Tulisa Contostavlos and numerous auditions from the batch of hopefuls.

Spin-off show The Xtra Factor on ITV2, fronted by Olly Murs and Caroline Flack, averaged 1.5 million viewers.

Overall, after a difficult few weekends in the ratings war, ITV1 had a peak-time share of the audience of 29.8% between 6pm and 10.30pm, nearly double BBC1's 16.7% share.

There had been fears that the show's popularity would plummet following the departure of Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole, but last year's opening episode only earned 11.1million viewers.

But thier absence appears not to have harmed the popularity of the X Factor, with 12.6 million viewers watching the programme's return last Saturday night according to ITV.

Already, though, series eight of X Factor has attracted controversy, with suggestions that waitress Roxy Yarnold, who appeared on Saturday's show, has links with Cowell's Syco label, having toured with Westlife, Shayne Ward and G4, reported Gigwise.

An X Factor spokesman told the Mirror, "Throughout the history of X Factor, there has been auditionees who have been involved with the music industry before."

The X Factor first began in 2004 with an average of 4.9 million viewers and a 26% share.

The series continues on ITV1 next Saturday (August 27) at 8pm.