NATPE 2011: Zeiler: 'X-Factor' Will Be a Hit in U.S.

RTL Group CEO bullish on Simon Cowell's new Fox show

So much for lowering expectations for Fox's upcoming music competition show X Factor. Speaking at the NATPE convention in Miami, RTL Group CEO Gerhard Zeiler predicted big things for the Simon Cowell-led show, which is from RTL subsidiary Fremantle.

"I am pretty much sure that X Factor will be a hit in the United States," he told B&C executive editor Melissa Grego, who conducted the session. Zeiler was at NATPE to receive a Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award.

While Zeiler refused to predict if ratings for X Factor will surpass those of its Fremantle and Fox cousin American Idol ["I won't make that mistake," he said], he did echo the recent opinions of Fox execs that there is room for both shows. Idol is airing now through the spring, with X Factor slated to join the Fox lineup in the fall.

"It will do fantastically because we know how to balance it [with Idol]," he said. "We hope with Fox both shows will be big hits."

A wide-ranging conversation also touched on the challenges of doing business in Russia, how the lack of variety in U.S. primetime shows could be a reason there is more network leadership changes than in Europe, and how Zeiler "will not hand one company the key to our future" when dealing with distribution companies like Netflix.