Britain's Got Talent moves to avoid The Voice clash

Simon Cowell's ITV1 show switched to 8.30pm slot from 21 April after losing out in ratings to BBC1 rival

Britain's Got Talent is moving to a later Saturday night slot after losing out to The Voice in the ratings when the rival talent shows overlapped.

Simon Cowell's ITV1 show will be moved to 8.30pm and run until 9.45pm from 21 April, according to the latest TV schedules exchanged by the broadcasters on Wednesday.

This avoids any overlap with The Voice, which will run from 7pm until 8.30pm on BBC1.

Previously the shows overlapped for 20 minutes, with The Voice running between 7pm and 8.20pm, and Britain's Got Talent between 8pm and 9.15pm.

Over the three weeks the two shows have been on air, The Voice has consistently had a bigger audience in the 20 minutes when they overlap and on Saturday also had a higher overall average audience, excluding ITV1+1 viewers.

ITV was accused of spoiler tactics after it brought forward the launch of the sixth series of the Cowell talent show to counter its BBC1 rival.

Cowell said last month the BBC should "get their sense of humour back" over the rivalry between the two shows, but it is BBC1 controller Danny Cohen who appears to have had the last laugh.

The latest edition of The Voice last Saturday had an average of 9.54 million viewers, ahead of the 9.1 million viewers who watched Britain's Got Talent on ITV1.

Britain's Got Talent's total audience, including ITV1+1, remained marginally in the lead with a total of 9.62 million.

In the brief period when the two shows were both on air, The Voice was the clear winner with 10 million viewers against the ITV show's 6.4 million.

There is plenty of mileage left in this particular ratings war, however, with both shows due to run for another two months.

A BBC source blamed ITV for the scheduling clash, saying it had always tried to avoid any sort of overlap between the two shows.

When the BBC moved The Voice earlier in the schedule before the two shows launched last month, ITV responded by moving Britain's Got Talent earlier before an 11th hour change of heart reduced the overlap to just 20 minutes.

ITV said some sort of clash between the two shows was inevitable after the BBC scheduled The Voice for the spring, the same time of year as Britain's Got Talent.

An ITV spokeswoman said: "At its peak, 11.9 million people watched Britain's Got Talent this weekend; the highest recorded audience figure on any channel, so far this month.

"Viewing figures for BGT are up year on year. By moving to 8.30pm we are ensuring that as many people as possible have the opportunity to watch the show in full."

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John Plunkett

The GuardianTramp

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