‘The X Factor’ opening night viewing figures are even lower than last year

The show's opening night ratings could be the lowest since 2005

The X Factor returned yesterday (August 27) to what is understood to be the show’s lowest opening night ratings since 2005.

The ITV singing contest pulled in an average of 6.8 million viewers and a 34% share of the audience between 8pm and 9.30pm, which was still enough to make it last night’s most-watched show, the Radio Times reports.

While these figures will increase once viewers watching on various catch-up services are included, the overnight figures are well down on last year’s overnights, which showed 7.8 million viewers and a 39% audience share tuning into the opening show. Back in 2011, at the peak of the show’s popularity, the series opener attracted in excess of 10 million viewers.

This year’s X Factor panel sees Simon Cowell joined on the judging panel by “old favourites” Louis Walsh, Nicole Scherzinger and Sharon Osbourne in a bid to boost the show’s flagging fortunes. Longtime presenter Dermot O’Leary, who was ditched last year in favour of the heavily-criticised duo of Olly Murs and Caroline Flack, is also back for the 2016 series.

Meanwhile, it has recently been reported that Calvin Harris is “in advance talks” for a role on this year’s show as Cowell attempts to reverse its ongoing ratings decline.