'A little disappointing': The Voice boss admits that Saturday night ratings could have been better
16:31 GMT, 28 May 2012
The creator of BBC singing show The Voice, who was also behind Big Brother, has admitted that ratings for the Saturday night show have been 'a little bit disappointing'.
His comments come as the BBC1 entertainment show's audience figures plummeted by another million at the weekend, meaning it has now lost well over halve its audience since last month's high point.
Dutch media mogul Jon de Mol, who is credited with creating the TV contest, has revealed he is to meet BBC bosses after this Saturday's final to discuss changes for the second series. While he said the singing contest 'still has good ratings' he conceded 'they could have been better'.
Disappointing: The creator of The Voice has admitted that ratings for Saturday's semi-final were very poor
This comes after two of the favourites to win the competition – Jaz Ellington and Ruth Brown – were both voted off the show on Sunday night. Even guest performances from Cheryl Cole and Kylie Minogue failed to halt the ratings slide.
BBC insiders admit there is 'disappointment' about the alarming drop in viewing figures, with proposals including less live shows and less acts, likely to be considered for the second series. A show source admitted the last few weeks had been a 'wake-up call' that just because a show starts well 'you can't rest on your laurels'.
Not enough to attract viewers: Cheryl Cole performed her new single live on Saturday night's show
Saturday night's show pulled in just 4.5million viewers, down from 5.7million the week before and down from a high point of 10.7million in the middle of April. Sunday night's show got 4.7million down from 5.8million the week before.
Producers have been hit by the fact that while viewers loved the 'blind auditions' where coaches Jessie J, Sir Tom Jones, Will.i.am and Danny O'Donoghue could not see the acts they were selecting, once it has become a straightforward singing contest viewers have left in their droves. ITV sources had branded it a 'poor man's X Factor'.
Mr de Mol, speaking before Saturday night's semi-final, said he 'had to admit' the live shows 'have the most resemblance with other talent shows'.
The Dutch TV creator, when looking for reasons why the ratings had tailed off, suggested the BBC decision to split the live show from the results, shown the following evening, may 'take away some of the tension'.
So long, fella! Mentor Will.i.am and host Holly Willoughby said goodbye to Jaz Ellington on Sunday's elimination show
Speaking to The Guardian he defended how the BBC had handled the show. He said: 'Television is not maths…we are due to have a big meeting after the final and will talk about what we should change for the second series…There may be a few slight changes.'
But he said he was 'thrilled' with the cast of on-coaches and said he did not know if they would be coming back. He added: 'The question is do the coaches want to continue.'
The format for The Voice has been sold to in the region of 50 countries and Mr de Mol said future discussions with the BBC would also include other show ideas such as The Voice Kids. He claimed there was a 'fair chance' the spin-off, featuring young singers between eight and 14, would be aired by the same broadcaster.
Hot favourite: But Ruth Brown was also eliminated on Sunday night's show
Bookmakers were yesterday offering odds of 3-1 that the show does not return for a second series next year. The show is costing about 11million a series for the BBC at a time when the corporation is looking to make 20 per cent cuts.
However it is expected that bosses will bring it back for another run due to the bumper ratings at the start of the series. But wholesale changes are expected for the live shows. Bo Bruce, daughter of the Earl of Cardigan, is now favourite to win the competition.
Leading contender: Bo Bruce, with mentor Danny O'Donoghue is now tipped to win the show
Sunday night's results confirmed that the as well as Miss Bruce, singers Tyler James, Vince Kidd and Leanne Mitchell will be in the final.
Last night a BBC insider said: 'The ratings over the last few weeks have been disappointing but as a series there have been lots of things that have been incredibly well-received.
'It would be arrogant for anyone on a show to think that we shouldn't look at what did and what didn't work before next year.
'The last couple of weeks have been a wake-up call and show that if you start well it doesn't mean you can rest on your laurels. We will look at what really works and how we can improve the thing next year.'
The final acts: After this weekend' live final, bosses will hold a meeting to see how the show can be improved for the second series