LONDON (Reuters) - A live tour tied to the BBC’s “The Voice UK” singing contest has been cancelled due to poor ticket sales, Britain’s publicly funded broadcaster reported on Tuesday.
The cancellation is a further blow to a series which opened to strong viewer ratings at its launch in March but lost popularity during its first series on British television.
It faced earlier embarrassment when the winning act, Leanne Mitchell, only reached no. 45 in the singles charts with a cover of Whitney Houston’s “Run To You”.
“The X Factor”, run by music producer Simon Cowell and aired on BBC’s main rival ITV, regularly sees its winning performers top the charts, and its tours of Britain are generally successful.
The Voice UK Live tour had been due to open in Bournemouth on September 12 and visit venues in Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, London, Glasgow and Sheffield.
“Unfortunately, The Voice UK Live has been cancelled due to lack of ticket sales,” a spokesperson told the BBC in a statement. “Customers are advised to contact their point of purchase for ticket refunds.”
The Voice, which has already enjoyed success in the United States, launched to much fanfare on the BBC. British media reports said the broadcaster spent 22 million pounds ($35 million) to acquire the show.
The inaugural judging panel featured The Black Eyed Peas star will.i.am, Welsh singer Tom Jones, British chart topper Jessie J and Ireland’s Danny O’Donoghue.
Early episodes did well in the ratings, attracting average audiences of more than 10 million and eclipsing ITV rival “Britain’s Got Talent”, another Cowell vehicle, when the two shows went head-to-head.
But later in its run The Voice audiences dropped to a low of around 4.5 million.
BBC One controller Danny Cohen has said producers would look at ways to improve the second series in 2013. He also said that, despite the ratings decline, the program overall was a success and broke records for a new entertainment show on the BBC.
Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato