Despite its struggling ratings, “The X Factor” could survive for a fourth season.
Talks are not yet within the realm of finalization, but according to EW, FOX and the show’s producers have indeed begun negotiating for another season.
The very existence of such talks might come as a shock to those who follow television ratings. After two seasons of delivering numbers that were below expectations but competitive by normal television standards, numbers for the third season have sunk into the irrefutable abyss. Recent ratings have not even flirted with the 2.0 adults 18-49 threshold that once seemed like an absolute bottom for the series.
But “The X Factor” is not performing in a vacuum. While the idea of an episode of a Simon Cowell-fronted music competition series struggling to deliver a 1.5 rating seems appalling in theory, the numbers still compare favorably to those from shows like “Dads,” “Raising Hope” and “The Mindy Project.”
Outside of “Sleepy Hollow” and “The Following,” FOX’s recent track record of launching hits is lacking. That could create an aura of uncertainty at FOX, which might prefer the safety of an established, albeit underwhelming, performer to the unpredictability of a new one.
The possibility of reducing the show’s episode order also carries some appeal. If FOX could limit the count, and therefore cut costs while freeing up lineup space, an “X Factor” return might make financial sense.
Broadcasting “The X Factor” as a summer series might also be on the table.