30/03/2012 06:18 BST | Updated 30/05/2012 06:12 BST

ITV Bosses Ban Any Mention Of 'The Voice', In Ratings War With 'Britain's Got Talent'

Anxious ITV bosses have banned any mention of BBC show The Voice on their channels over fears the programme could beat Britain's Got Talent in a ratings war.

TV execs have reportedly cancelled a string of interviews with the stars of the rival BBC programme in a bid to stifle any promotion for the Saturday night show.

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The Voice coach Danny O'Donoghue was due to appear on ITV breakfast show Daybreak but the interview was cancelled with just 24 hours' notice and the BBC show's host Holly Willoughby has also been banned from plugging the show.

An ITV source told The Mirror: "Instructions have come from the very top at ITV - nothing on the network is allowed to promote The Voice in any way. The bosses have gone ballistic that shows on our channels have been plugging a rival. ITV are doing everything they possibly can to make sure The Voice isn't the huge hit the BBC hopes for."

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Both shows began their battle for ratings on Saturday and Britain's Got Talent proved the bigger hit overall with an average of 9.3m viewers. The Voice lagged behind with an audience of 8.4m.

However, in the 20 minutes where the two programmes overlapped, the BBC show led with 8.9m against ITV's 6.6m.

The news comes soon after ITV's The X Factor regular Sinitta publicly declared she enjoyed The Voice.

Staff members working on the show took to Twitter to thank the So Macho singer for backing the show, writing: "Thanks for watching #TheVoiceUK", before inviting The X Factor mentor to sit in the audience of a live show.

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