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Monday, 28 January, 2002, 17:20 GMT
Pop Idol audience reaches 10 million
Pop Idol
Just three remain in the running for Pop Idol
Talent search Pop Idol is proving to be a ratings winner for ITV as 10 million people tuned in to watch the final four become three.

Viewing figures have steadily grown since the thousands of contestants were whittled down to just 10.

They have sung each week during a live early evening Saturday show, with one hopeful voted off the show each week by the public.

Brian Dowling
Big Brother's live final drew 6.9 million viewers

On 12 January 8.1 million tuned into to watch the final five perform and 7.1 million came back to learn who was to be knocked out.

The following week an extra 700,000 tuned into watch the remaining four.

But the 26 January show has far exceeded previous viewing figures with 10m watching Zoe, Gareth, Darius and Will sing two number one singles each and 9.6 million tuning in to see 16-year-old Zoe voted off.

Viewer participation

On Saturday it received a record 3.6 million callers, indicating the ratings will increase for its live final on 9 February, when the final two contestants battle it out for a prized recording contract.

Pop Idol crosses the divide between a straight entertainment programme, talent search and reality TV show, building on the success of hits such as Big Brother and Popstars.

It has a strong element of viewer participation, as it is the public vote which determines the fate of the contestants.

In contrast, ITV's Popstars, which created the band Hear'Say, was completely pre-recorded.

The final decision was left down to the three industry experts who acted as judges.

The judges on Pop Idol give guidance and criticism, but have no direct input.

Survivor failed to capture the imagination of audiences
However, despite being pre-recorded, Popstars kept its audience share by managing to keep its secrets until the show was broadcast.

Some 12.63 million watched the Popstars drama unfold in July 2001 as Kym, Myleene, Suzanne, Danny and Noel were told of their success.


ITV repeated the format with Soapstars, a search for actors and actresses to make up a new family for its soap Emmerdale.

The "family" were chosen by a panel of judges. Some 11 million viewers watched them being interviewed before their debut on the soap.

Big Brother scored Channel 4 its best ratings of the year as 6.9 million people tuned into to see who would pick up the 70,000 prize money.

The public played a big role in deciding the outcome of the series, voting for those they wanted evicted over the weeks.

About four million votes were cast during the live final on 27 July leaving air steward Brian Dowling the winner.

Soapstars followed a similar format to Popstars
Survivor, which was billed as being a rival to Big Brother, failed to capture the imagination of the audience, scraping just 4.4 million viewers for some episodes.

Much of the failure was blamed on the lack of viewer involvement because it was known the island castaways had already returned home by the time the show aired.

The live final in which the contestants chose a winner, proved a bigger success and ITV has recommissioned the show.

Which TV show has the best format?

Pop Idol


Big Brother


6028 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

26 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
'Star performer' Zoe out of Pop Idol
25 Jan 02 | Wales
Pop Idol Jessica's new fame bid
06 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Pop Idol loser feels a 'winner'
23 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
Jessica voted off Pop Idol
22 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
Pop Idol's Rik bows out
21 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
Last minute decision for Pop Idol Rik
19 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
Idol's Rik waits on voice
16 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
Korben ejected from Pop Idol
17 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
Under-age Pop Idol hopeful rumbled
16 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
Take That manager attacks Pop Idol
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