Andrew Lloyd Webber is to leave the BBC to launch a new musical programme on ITV.
The legendary composer, who has already fronted four musical reality shows on the BBC including ‘How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria’ and ‘I’d Do Anything’, will use the show to find a new Jesus for ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’.
Lloyd Webber signed the deal with ITV to find a new leading man for a remake of his West End musical but he is also expected to look for someone to play Judas in the rock opera.
An insider told The Sun that 'he has been wanting to get this off the ground for some time but the BBC just didn’t want it. They had issues about auditioning for Jesus. They feared Christians would get hot under the collar'.
The source also said the BBC kept getting complaints for acting as a promotional portal for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s commercial projects.
More names are yet to be confirmed for the judging panel.
The winner will perform in a planned arena tour of the production rather than being staged in London’s West End like Lloyd Webber’s previous musicals. [The Sun]
Also in today’s press
Infamous ‘X Factor’ evictee Frankie Cocozza has returned to TV screens by entering the ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ house. The shamed singer, who was kicked off the show after allegedly taking drugs, hopes being on the Channel 5 spin-off of the reality programme will carve him a TV presenting career as the next George Lamb. He is joined by Hollywood actor Michael Madsen, Ryan Giggs' sister-in-law Natasha Giggs, 'EastEnders' star Natalie Cassidy, models Nicola McLean, Georgia Salpa, and Kristina and Karissa Shannon, rugby player Gareth Thomas, TOWIE's Kirk Norcross, 'Loose Women's Denise Welch, 'Pineapple Dance Studios' Andrew Stone and Romeo Dunn from So Solid Crew. [The Sun]