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'The X Factor:' Softish launch

In this undated image released by Fox,%20judges%20Paula%20Abdul%20and%20Fox, judges

In this undated image released by Fox, judges Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, appear during auditions for the singing competition series "The X Factor." (Sept. 21, 2011) Photo Credit: Fox

"The X Factor's” two-hour debut Wednesday night was probably not what Fox hoped for: 12.5  million viewers. It was even beaten by the season premiere of "Modern Family." Final numbers are in, adjusted for time zones, and this 12.5 should stand. 

Let's parse, shall we: This figure is about 50 percent below "American Idol's” launch figure last season, which means Simon will have to eat his words about beating -- or at least wanting to beat -- his alma mater. (On the plus side...Fox said this was the most watched Fox fall debut in five years, and the highest rated Wednesday 18-49 premiere performance in 13 years...)  

Thursday night will be interesting -- ostensibly slightly weaker comp than last night, but only slightly, and with "Grey's Anatomy” arriving at 9 p.m., well, lights out for "X."

The more important figure has to be next Wednesday, and that's when hard judgments will be rendered. Problem with "X” from a creative standpoint is obvious: It's terribly similar to so much of what is already out there. Well produced, certainly, but hardly groundbreaking. 


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