Rough week for Fox’s ratings

NEW YORK – A rough week for “The X-Factor” made it a brutal week in the ratings for Fox, which established an historic low-water mark for a big broadcast network during the key November sweeps period.

The Nielsen company said Fox’s prime-time average of 3.8 million viewers last week was smaller than any recorded by ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox in November. Fox also finished fourth among the young viewers that are its most sought-after audience.

Simon Cowell’s “The X-Factor,” never a big hit, has collapsed this fall, down 28 percent from last year, Nielsen said. Viewers interested in music competition shows have clearly bet on NBC’s “The Voice,” which exceeded 11 million viewers for both of its episodes last week.

“The X-Factor” last Wednesday had 4.5 million viewers, with Thursday’s audience 3.7 million. That’s tough to recover from, since the show fills three hours of Fox’s prime time. A glitch last week really hurt: A mistake in a posted phone number meant Fox had to throw the week’s voting results out, eliminating a big reason to watch Thursday’s show.