ITV bosses have backed down from a bitter scheduling battle which threatened to force viewers to pick between big budget talent search shows The Voice and Britian’s Got Talent.
After hotheaded talk of “tanks” and “killing the opposition”, the channel has shifted BGT to the 8pm slot while BBC1’s The Voice will remain at 7pm.
“It’s in nobody’s interests to split the audience,” an ITV source said.
A BBC source responded: “ITV realised that an overlap was not going to do them any favours and would affect them as much as it would affect The Voice.”
The overlap between the two shows will now last just 2o minutes, as opposed to the 50 minutes that was promised yesterday.
ITV put the kybosh on the BBC’s earlier attempt to avoid a substantial overlap by moving BGT into an unusually early spot. The Voice was moved from 7.15pm to 7pm and ITV responded by moving its show 15 minutes earlier also.
The publication of ITV1’s final Saturday schedule was delayed by 90 minutes on Wednesday, suggesting that debate was raging on right up until the last mnute.
But given that Cowell is behind BGT and the “fierce scheduling battle” has been hitting the headlines all week, one can’t help but wonder how genuine ITV’s intention were in the first place…