GARY BARLOW 'REPLACES' SIMON COWELL AS HEAD JUDGE ON ITV's WALK THE LINE

Simon Cowell has announced that he is to step down as judge on his upcoming ITV musical gameshow Walk The Line, which will air later this year, to spend more time with his family.



Simon, who will continue to serve as executive producer, was due to lead a panel of judges on the new stripped entertainment format.



Simon Cowell, via The Sun, 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."



Gary Barlow 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."


In a statement, 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."



The TV event format sees musical acts - be they soloists, duos, bands, or choirs - take to the stage to perform for the nation, as well as a panel of judges.


The top two performers of the evening then face a nail-biting decision in their bid to be crowned champion - to either ‘cash out’ with a tempting cash prize, or walk the line and play on. Should they stay in and top the leaderboard, they will then progress to the next show, facing a different cast of performers.



The longer the performers can stay in the contest, the bigger the prize pot, with a high stake ‘stay or play’ moment at the end of each show. Each night, the reigning champion will be offered an even higher cash out prize - will they take the money and leave the competition, or Walk The Line and bet on themselves…?


Walk The Line will air later this year on ITV.