Wednesday ratings breakdown: 'The X Factor' isn't the Death Star after allAdd to Favorites | The X Factor
It's probably some of both. By most standards, launching a show to 12.5 million viewers and a 4.4 rating among adults 18-49 (those numbers are up slightly from "X Factor's" fast national ratings) in the current TV climate is cause for celebration, or at least substantial sighs of relief. And "The X Factor" did do better than anything FOX has had on fall Wednesdays since the "Melrose Place" era.
But when the man in charge -- Cowell, who left "American Idol" to bring "The X Factor" in the United States (he created the format) -- has said he would consider anything under 20 million viewers a failure, well, that has to be considered too.
We doubt that FOX is in panic mode, because again, "The X Factor" is still a sizable upgrade over what came before (and should be again with Thursday's show). The network has to hope that the show will follow the pattern that "American Idol" did -- and, for that matter, the U.K. "X Factor" as well -- in its first season, a good-but-not-world-beating premiere that built over time and eventually spawned a huge hit.