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Cowell regretful after ratings fall short

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Judges Simon Cowell, right, and Paula Abdul are shown during auditions for the singing competition series "The X Factor."

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Simon Cowell acknowledges that he regrets saying ratings less than 20 million for the U.S. version of The X Factor would be a failure.

The show's September debut earned 12.5 million viewers, which was less than the premiere of the comedy Modern Family, the leader of the night with 14.5 million viewers. The X Factor held those numbers for the second episode.

"I'm not going to lie. I wanted 20 million when we launched," says Cowell, "but now I'm kind of back in the real world and I'm seeing this grow naturally."

The show is Cowell's baby. Besides being a judge on its panel, he is its creator and an executive producer.

X Factor has a lot of competition not only from other TV shows but also in persuading viewers to invest in another TV talent competition like Fox's American Idol and NBC's The Voice.

"We're not in Russia where you have one show. This is life. If you're competitive and it spurs you on, I kind of get excited by it."

The X Factor airs Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox at 8 p.m.

Authors! Authors! cancellation

The Authors! Authors! talk by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. for Oct. 20 has been canceled and may be rescheduled in the spring.

Gates, an African-American scholar and professor at Harvard University, has a health problem that temporarily prevents him from flying.

People who have purchased tickets may use them at other Authors! Authors! programs this year and for all programs in spring, 2012, but must exchange them at any branch location of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. To obtain a refund, they can return the ticket to any branch and leave their name and address with the manager.

Speakers for the spring lineup have yet to be announced.

Upcoming speakers in the fall will be Steve Pollick and Jeff Basting, a writer and artist respectively at The Blade, who have published a coffee-table sized 64-page book, Best of the Outdoors Page. They will speak at 7 p.m. Nov. 3 in the Stranahan Theater.

And on Nov. 17, Lisa See, author of Shanghai Girls and Snowflower and the Secret Fan, takes the Stranahan's stage at 7 p.m.

The series is sponsored by the library and The Blade.

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