The genre-bending show from Cowell’s Syco Entertainment and ITV Studios’ rebranded Lifted Entertainment division was unveiled with fanfare over the summer and would have represented Cowell’s on-screen return 15 months after be broke his back after falling off an E-bike, which meant he missed out on presenting Britain’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent.
However, he told UK newspaper The Sun yesterday that he wanted to “focus on my role as creator and producer as we build up to the hugely exciting launch” later this year.
Cowell’s replacement is Barlow, with whom he worked on now-cancelled long-running ITV format The X Factor. Barlow will be joined by UK presenter Maya Jama and singer Craig David.
Cowell is expected to return for the next series of Britain’s Got Talent.
An ITV spokesman 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.”
Walk The Line sees musical acts take to the stage to perform for the nation. The top two performers of the evening then face a nail-biting decision in their bid to be crowned champion — they 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.