ITV moves BGT to avoid Voice clash

ITV bosses have backed down in the Saturday night TV clash by shifting Britain’s Got Talent to avoid a further head-to-head with The Voice.

Simon Cowell’s BGT has shifted to a later slot to avoid an overlap after its BBC1 rival pulled in a bigger audience when the shows were on simultaneously.

ITV chiefs believe the switch will give the programme a ratings boost.

In schedules finalised this afternoon, ITV1 will screen its talent contest at 8.30pm on April 21 – half an hour later than previous shows in this series.

The gloves came off last month when the two broadcasters lined their programmes up against each other with a 20-minute overlap.

On Saturday, BBC1’s newly launched The Voice proved to be edging ahead as the victor in the 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 new singing show on Saturdays in spring, when BGT has traditionally aired.

ITV brought forward the broadcast of its series by several weeks to ensure they launched on the same night 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.