Simon Cowell's relationship with Gary Barlow has been fraught after since the showbiz impresario publically blamed his stand-in for the X Factor's plummeting ratings, but it looks like that the Take That star may have the last laugh. The Sun reports that Barlow is reportedly set to launch a rival new talent show.
Insiders claim that the former X Factor head judge wants his own Saturday night show on the BBC when The Voice moves to ITV after the current series. "This is Gary's own format that will be made by the BBC entertainment team," a source said. "If it is a success he could make hundreds of millions of pounds around the world like Cowell has with X Factor and Britain's Got Talent."
Cowell is said to be fuming after getting wind of his former protégée's plans. "Cowell is going to be furious because he thinks it was X Factor that gave Gary the experience working on a show like this. Now he's gone and set up a direct rival," the source explained. "He's always been paranoid about Gary trying to set up a huge entertainment company incorporating music and TV, which seems to be happening."
Despite a new-look judging panel and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini's promotion to executive producer, the last series of the X Factor failed to set the ratings alight. Back in August 2015, the singing competition suffered its lowest ratings for a launch show in 10 years, with an average of 7.6 million tuning in.
Although Barlow's alleged move would put him in direct competition with his archnemesis, the BBC insisted that nothing was set in stone. A spokesperson said: "This is one of a number of ideas being considered for Saturday nights on BBC One and nothing has been green lit yet."
There is no love lost between the pair since Cowell slammed the former Take That singer's judging skills in 2014, telling The Mirror: "The truth is – and I am not being rude – I wouldn't hire Gary to run my record label. Essentially that is what you are doing with The X Factor judging panel. But if Gary and I were running a record label we would do it in a different way."
He added: "Gary was seen as the head judge – and so am I. I do believe I am the best person at spotting a potential star and making them work well on the show," he told the Sun. "That is what I am good at doing, not being a big mouth on the show. It is making the show I am on better.