Rival networks probably concluded months ago that the season finale of The X Factor would attract a huge audience, and they therefore programmed mostly reruns opposite it Thursday night. But that was when producer/judge Simon Cowell was predicting that regular episodes of the talent show would attract 20 million viewers or more and when Fox was charging outsized prices for ads on the show. Thursday night's finale did indeed attract solid numbers, thanks in part to the weak rerun competition, but the 12.45 million viewers who tuned in was nowhere near what Fox and the show's producers had hoped for when the series debuted in September. (CBS, which usually wins on Thursday nights, came in second with an average of 8 million viewers; NBC was third with 3.3 million; ABC, fourth with 3.3 million.) Commenting on The X Factor 's failure to live up to expectations, New York Times TV writer Bill Carter remarked, "The network will now face questions about the show going forward. If it limped to the finish this season what will happen next fall?"