ITV move BGT slot to avoid clash with The Voice

ITV show Britain’s Got Talent will move to the later time of 8.30pm next Saturday so they will no longer clash with popular new BBC singing contest The Voice.

Bosses made the decision after The Voice pulled in a bigger audience than BGT when the shows were on simulataneously.

It is now hoped that the switch will give Simon Cowell’s programme a ratings boost.

In schedules finalised this afternoon, ITV1 will screen the talent contest at 8.30pm on April 21 – 30 minutes later than previous shows in this series.

On Saturday, BBC1’s newly launched The Voice was winning the ratings battle with an average audience of 9.5 million, compared to BGT’s 9.1 million.

BGT’s audience peaked at 11.9 million, considerably higher than The Voice’s 10.7 million, but crucially in the overlap ITV1 could muster just 6.2 million viewers compared to BBC1’s 10 million.

Tensions rose between the two broadcasters when it emerged that the BBC would be screening its news singing show on Saturdays in spring, when BGT has traditionally aired.

ITV brought forward the broadcast of its series to ensure they launched on the same night by several weeks in a bid to make a dent in the young pretender’s viewing figures.

But now they have backed off and will screen the 75-minute edition a week on Saturday just after The Voice draws to a close. It will probably lead to a boost in BGT’s average figures as the audience will no longer be split between the two shows.

A BBC insider said: “The BBC always wanted to avoid any overlap but rather than killing The Voice as ITV had hoped, it was instead damaging BGT. It’s no surprise they moved it given last week’s ratings.”

An ITV spokesman said today: “At its peak, 11.9 million people watched Britain’s Got Talent this weekend; the highest recorded audience figure on any channel, so far this month.

“Viewing figures for BGT are up year-on-year. By moving to 8.30pm we are ensuring that as many people as possible have the opportunity to watch the show in full.”

ITV bosses have long maintained there was no reason for the BBC to line up The Voice in a spring slot when they knew they would be challenging BGT which has been screened at this time of year since 2008.