Simon Cowell announces his replacement as judge on talent show Walk The Line

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Former Take That singer Gary Barlow is to replace Simon Cowell as a judge on the upcoming ITV show Walk The Line.

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.

He 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.”

“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.”

Cowell’s appearance on Walk The Line was scheduled to mark his return to UK television after breaking his back when he fell off an electric bike he was testing at his house in Malibu in August last year.

The 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.

Barlow, who celebrated his 50th birthday earlier this year, has carved out a successful TV career alongside his music having been a judge on The X Factor and Let It Shine.

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.”

During lockdown Barlow delighted fans by hosting his daily Crooner Sessions on social media, which saw him performing with musicians including his former Take That bandmate Robbie Williams and Sir Cliff Richard, as well as Jason Donovan, Westlife’s Shane Filan and The X Factor’s Olly Murs.

In September it was announced that Maya Jama will host Walk The Line.

Her TV credits include presenting the third season of BBC’s Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-Up Star and she joined Celebrity Juice as a regular panellist earlier this year.

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.”

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