Simon Cowell steps down from judging his new show Walk The Line
In a disappointing move, Simon Cowell has decided not to sit on the judging panel of his new television show Walk The Line to spend more family time with his partner Lauren and their son Eric.
Simon will still be involved off-air as executive producer and is expected to oversee every aspect of the show.
Simon has offered his role to Gary Barlow - who has accepted. Gary is no stranger to Simon's shows having sat in his seat for X Factor while Simon was doing the USA version.
Gary issued a statement last night confirming his position. “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.”
Craig David and Mabel are expected to join Gary on the panel, although this is as yet unconfirmed.
In a statement last night, Simon said: “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.
“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.”
An inside source told The Sun “Everyone at ITV and within Camp Cowell is massively excited about this new project.
“It has all the ingredients to be a huge hit. As you can imagine, workaholic Simon has been massively involved from the word ‘go’.
“But given all the upheavals of the past year or so, what with lockdown and his health, he’s decided now is not the time to be front of camera.
“He’s just finished an exceptionally busy period filming which saw him spending an extended period of time away from home, so he also wants to devote more time to his family in the coming weeks.
“Clearly Simon has nothing to prove and doesn’t seek celebrity status; even after a quieter couple of years by his standards, he still gets recognised everywhere he goes.
“So the last thing he needs is for all that to be ramped-up again once this show runs on primetime telly.
“Just as he did in 2006 for the inaugural AGT launch, Simon wants help steer the ship from behind the scenes so he can ensure the series runs to his exacting demands.”