Simon Cowell announces Gary Barlow will replace him as judge on talent show Walk The Line

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 (ES Composite)
(ES Composite)

Simon Cowell has announced that former Take That singer Gary Barlow will replace him as a judge on the upcoming ITV talent show Walk The Line.

Mr Cowell, 62, will be stepping back from his on-screen position to focus on his role as creator and producer for the debut series of the show.

Gary Barlow, who has previously been on the judging panel of The X Factor, said he is “excited” to be involved in Walk The Line.

He said: “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. It’s also brilliant to be working with the team at ITV again.”

Mr Cowell’s appearance 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.

His treatment involved six hours of surgery, which included the insertion of a metal rod into his back.

While he has said he has made a full recovery, doctors reportedly told him he had been lucky.

Speaking about the decision to move off-screen for Walk The Line, Cowell 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 of the first series of our new show, Walk The Line.”

A statement from 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.”

The ITV talent show will offer musical variety acts a chance to win a prize pot, but to win the money they must decide if they want to cash out or risk it all to stay in the competition.

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