Simon Cowell has stepped down from his onscreen role on his upcoming ITV game show Walk the Line.
Gary Barlow from the boyband Take That will take Simon’s place. Gary previously took over Simon’s spot on the X Factor UK when Simon sat on the panel of the US version for 3 seasons between 2011-2013.
The series is is due to air in the UK on ITV this fall. Maya Jama will serve as host.
Simon’s stint on Walk The Line was expected to mark his return to TV in the UK after breaking his back in an accident on an electric bike at his home in Malibu in August 2020.
“This is a situation where I have decided it is right for me to focus on my role as the creator and producer as we build up to the hugely exciting launch of the first series of our new show, Walk The Line,” Simon said in a statement.
Gary Barlow joins the Panel
“On that basis, I am thrilled that Gary is joining the panel. Gary’s musical pedigree is second to none – and we have known each other a long time now – so I am delighted he is picking up the baton for me for the first series of Walk The Line. I know he will do a fantastic job.”
Gary said in a statement: “When Simon calls, it’s usually with something fairly extraordinary. I’m so excited to be involved in a brand-new TV show, and of course my favourite part of Walk The Line is discovering new talent.”
ITV said: “We are delighted that Gary has decided to join the Walk The Line family, and we understand and support Simon’s decision to focus on his role as producer and creator for this debut series.
“Gary will bring his musical expertise as one of the world’s leading singer songwriters to the show, which promises to uncover some brilliant new talent and offer the unique chance to win a life-changing prize.”
A source tells Sky News that Simon is still working to strengthen his back after the bicycle accident and he wants to “devote more time to his family in the next few weeks.”
Simon steps down from Walk The Line weeks after AGT:Extreme contestant near-deadly accident
Is it just a coincidence that Simon stepping away from Walk the Line comes only a few weeks after a contestant was seriously injured on the set of the America’s Got Talent spin off AGT: Extreme? The show has suspended production for the time being. Simon obviously has his hands full.
Walk The Line will offer musical variety acts a chance to win a prize, but to win the money they must decide if they want to cash out or risk it all to stay in the competition.