Simon Cowell moves 'Britain's Got Talent' into direct competition with 'The Voice'
THE Voice will clash with ITV rival Britain's Got Talent when the Simon Cowell show launches next week as broadcasters compete to dominate Saturday night viewing.
The BBC has moved the start time of its 95-minute singing show from 7pm to 6.45pm on Saturday April 13 but it will still overlap with the first BGT which will run from 7pm to 8.35pm.
A BBC insider said: "ITV's move is disappointing because it's not in the best interests of viewers. BGT has started at 8pm for the last three years which enabled viewers to watch both shows - it's a shame they can't this year."
An ITV insider said the scheduling allowed the show to be watched by young fans and was a regular slot for some of its biggest entertainment shows.
The competition puts more pressure on The Voice to succeed after last year's series experienced a spectacular drop in viewers after its early stages - with the semi-final drawing just half the audience it managed at its peak.
An 11-date tour, featuring performances by the its eight finalists, was cancelled following poor ticket sales.
More than seven million viewers tuned in to see Leanne Mitchell win the first series - almost five million fewer viewers than the final of BGT.
The first episode of this series pulled in an average audience of 6.2 million viewers and was beaten by ITV's Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway which was seen by a million more.