Singer Gary Barlow and music entrepreneur Simon Cowell have a rocky history but will be putting their differences aside to work together on new ITV show Walk The Line
The pair have had a toxic feud in the past which stemmed from Simon inviting Gary to become a judge on The X Factor.
However, Gary is once again filling Simon’s shoes on the new programme as he opted to position himself as executive producer role on his latest reality TV venture.
The music entrepreneur is taking a break from being in front of the camera some 15 months after he had surgery following an accident on an electric bike back in 2020.
It’s also thought that he wants to be able to spend more time with his partner Lauren Silverman, 44, and son Eric, seven.
Handing the reigns over to Gary, Simon 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,” he told The Sun.
The two men pair have put their differences aside after hitting a rocky patch when they started working together in 2011.
Back in 2011 Simon and X Factor judge Cheryl jetted over to the US to work on the American version of the show, which meant Simon needed a replacement judge so turned to Gary.
Despite bashing reality TV shows, Gary agreed to work alongside the other judges for that year, Tulisa Contostavlos, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh.
However it seems the friendship didn’t last long as when Gary was awarded an OBE in 2012, it was alleged that Simon became jealous of his achievement.
Simon’s unauthorised biographer Tom Bower wrote: “The announcement that Barlow would receive an OBE for arranging the event added to his irritation. ‘He chased that madly to get three initials after his name’.
“The ambitions of Barlow, he believed, were comical.”
He said that after a ‘disastrous’ attempt for Gary to be a solo star, Simon was concerned about him trying to build a rival entertainment empire.
Tom added: “He enjoyed snubbing the man who foolishly asserted that he was the top judge, not Louis Walsh, by texting his criticism about Barlow to others.”
In 2012, Simon returned to the talent show to judge, replacing Gary who said he was leaving to focus on his music career instead.
When Gary judged the show, viewing figures went down to 2006 levels which Simon reportedly blamed on him.
In 2017 rumours swirled that Simon was furious about Gary launching his own TV talent show as he searched for amateur stars to appear in a Take That musical.
Gary was a judge on the show as well as former X-Factor judge Dannii Minogue and Spandau Ballet singer Martin Kemp.
But Simon was convinced the show was too close to The X Factor but Gary denied the similarities.
A source told The Sunday People at the time : “Simon’s team was keeping a close eye on Gary’s show.
“They want to make sure that it’s completely different to his own projects. Simon has since been advised to abandon his case against Let It Shine.
“He is very serious when it comes to protecting the intellectual property of his shows. He trail blazed in the TV talent show sector and has to protect his brand. But it’s very hard to win these kind of cases and his legal team has gone back to him to say any action would most likely be fruitless.”
Gary will be joined by Dawn French, Alesha Dixon and Craig David as judges on Walk The Line.
The new musical talent show will see contestants compete to win a life changing amount of money.
Maya Jama will be hosting the show which starts this Sunday 12th December at 8pm on ITV and ITV Hub.