Italy’s X Factor eighth-season premiere surpassed all expectations for pay-TV station Sky Uno, reaching 1.2 million viewers, double the audience that tuned in last year. The winner of the series will take home a $385,000 Sony recording contract.
The debut show was also a trending topic on Twitter in Italy the entire night, pulling in 64,500 tweets throughout the night, with 49,600 using the #XF8 hashtag, a 43 percent increase from last year’s premiere.
Simon Cowell this year left the now-canceled U.S. version of the franchise he created. He reappeared on the U.K. version, drawing in a rising number of viewers, but the season’s growth has since declined.
Alongside The Voice, which this year was won by a singing nun, X Factor confirms Italy’s strong market for variety shows. The X Factor franchise is broadcast this year around the world in countries including Armenia, Australia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine.
- This article originally appeared in THR.com.