Simon Cowell didn’t mince words when responding to NBC’s decision to extend the season premiere of The Voice to three nights next week, putting it in direct competition with The X Factor on Wednesday, Sept. 12.
“It is a spoiling tactic. They don’t want people to see this first episode,” Cowell said on a conference call with reporters Thursday afternoon. “I hope and I pray that it backfires on them. I am pissed off about it because I believe in a gentlemen’s agreement.”
“It’s tactical,” he went on. “It’s very important to get this message out: They don’t want you to watch this show.”
As for suggestions that Voice producer Mark Burnett didn’t know the scheduling move would pit his show against X Factor, Cowell said “Give me a break.”
With both shows airing in the fall this season, X Factor is taking steps to differentiate itself from the competition by making the show more about the contestants – allowing the audience to see more of the audition process, how the contestants interact with each other and how they prepare for auditions.
“There’s a lot more reality than we’ve ever shown before,” Cowell said.
Another difference this season will be two hosts instead of one, which Cowell has said previously he wants to be a boy and a girl with no previous hosting experience. Cowell said they have screen-tested many candidates and hope to make a decision on the hosts in the next week, though they will not be part of the first three to four weeks of audition episodes.