The search for a music superstar gets underway as The X Factor returns. Joining music mogul Simon Cowell on the panel are Robbie Williams, Ayda Williams and Louis Tomlinson. The X Factor is a Britishreality television music competition to find new singing talent. The contestants are aspiring singers drawn from public auditions. Created by Simon Cowell, the show began in 2004 and has since aired annually from August/September until December. The show is produced by FremantleMedia'sThames (previously Talkback Thames) and Cowell's production companySyco Entertainment. It is broadcast on the ITV network in the UK and simulcast on TV3 in Ireland. "X Factor" refers to the undefinable "something" that makes for star quality. The series consists of auditions, bootcamp, judges' houses, several weeks of live shows, semi-finals and the final. The series had a spin-off behind-the-scenes show called The Xtra Factor, which aired directly after the main show on ITV2. This lasted for the first thirteen series, when it was cancelled by ITV in January 2017. It is replaced by an online spin-off show Xtra Bites exclusively on the ITV Hub. The first three series were presented by Kate Thornton, then from series four to eleven, the show was presented by Dermot O'Leary. Series 12 was presented by Caroline Flack and Olly Murs with O'Leary returning for series 13.