ITV chat shows 'blacklisting Strictly Come Dancing stars'


ITV has been accused of blacklisting Strictly Come Dancing stars from chat shows as part of the ratings war with The X Factor.

Celebrities taking part in the BBC dancing show have allegedly been snubbed by shows such as Good Morning Britain, Lorraine, This Morning and Loose Women, to prevent them promoting the rival show.

A BBC source told the Press Association: "It is such a pity that ITV bigwigs are denying their audiences the chance to enjoy catching up with the stars of Strictly.

"There is room on TV for both shows and everyone knows that their viewers like watching Strictly just as much as X Factor, so it is such a shame the bosses feel the need to punish their own audience."

In previous years celebrities competing on Strictly and their professional partners have appeared on ITV shows in the run-up to the start of the series to discuss their involvement, but so far this year they have been told there is no room.

During a recent segment on Good Morning Britain, presenter Richard Arnold, who took part in Strictly in 2012, referred to the BBC series as "The show that must not be named".

An ITV spokesman said: "We consider guests from all shows across channels for our programmes."

Strictly Come Dancing has already come out ahead of The X Factor in the first round of the ratings battle.

Strictly's launch on BBC One attracted an average of 8.7 million viewers, a 41.7% share of the audience on Saturday September 5, with a peak of 9.7 million viewers.

On the same night The X Factor pulled in an average 7.5 million viewers for the third show of the series, representing a 32.8% share, and peaked at nine million.

Ahead of its launch Simon Cowell insisted he was confident the ITV talent show would win the ratings war this year.

He said: "This show does feel better. The talent's great, they're interesting, so if it's us versus Peter Andre, I'm going to put my money on us."

The head of ITV recently accused the BBC of deliberately orchestrating the scheduling clash between Strictly and The X Factor.

Peter Fincham said: "It feels a bit like, 'Let's try to see if we can clip The X Factor's wings'."

He added: "It's a game to them and it's business to us. Take a million or two off the audience of The X Factor and that turns into income."

A BBC spokesman said: "We always try to avoid clashes, but we schedule our programmes with licence fee payers in mind and they tell us they want high-quality entertainment at the heart of the Saturday night schedule."

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