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

Speaking to The Sun, 62-year-old Cowell said he was stepping back from his on-screen position to focus on his role as creator and producer.

He told the paper: "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 to "pick up the baton" for Simon Cowell on Walk The Line

Meanwhile, Barlow said he is "so excited" to be involved in the show.

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."

A statement from ITV added: "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."

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.

Source: Press Association