LONDON - The night season opener of I'm A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! on British network ITV1 on Sunday drew higher ratings than the network's music competition show X Factor, which continues to face questions about its future.
I'm A Celebrity, a reality show that features celebrities living together in a jungle environment for a few weeks, reached an average viewership of 10.6 million on Sunday when including people who saw the show on ITV1+1, a catch-up channel that re-airs series with an hour delay.
It peaked at 11.6 million viewers.
The show has been in the headlines here after Britain's Conservative Party suspended parliamentarian Nadine Dorries for appearing on the show this season without giving advance notice.
X Factor, launched by Simon Cowell, peaked with 10.7 million and drew an average of 9.1 million viewers.
An ITV spokeswoman said it wasn't the first time I'm A Celebrity has beaten X Factor. The show tends to launch with a big audience before settling into a somewhat lower rhythm as it airs for a block of about three weeks with nearly daily episodes, according to observers.
But BBC dance competition Strictly Come Dancing has in recent weeks beaten X Factor on both Saturday and Sunday as the latter continues to bring in ratings below past years. The show once used to peak with close to 20 million viewers. A recent episode set a ratings low by some measures since the first season in 2004.
Industry observers here have suggested that the weaker ratings would lead to changes to the show's judges and possibly other features next season, which will be the show's 10th on ITV.
Some have even wondered how much longer the show will remain on the air, although the network has not made any comments beyond reiterating that the show remains one of the highest-rated in the country. An X Factor spokeswoman wasn't immediately available for comment.
Its current deal with ITV is believed to expire after next year’s season.