Composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber has defected from the BBC in order to begin the search for Jesus on ITV.
He’s not actually looking for the real messiah, but he is after someone who resembles Him and who can sing and act to boot.
The talent search will lead to one lucky winner being cast in the lead role of a remake of musical, Jesus Christ Superstar. The show is also expected to search for someone to play Judas.
Lloyd Webber himself will be head judge and, it’s thought that Welsh singer Steve Balsamo, who played Jesus in a 1996 version of the musical, is said to be “on board.”
However, in another break from the norm, the musical won’t play in London’s West End, and will instead be played in arena’s across the country, although it’s expected one of those venues will be the O2 arena in London.
Lloyd-Webber has of course fronted several talent quest shows with the BBC, but it seems the broadcaster had concerns about holding auditions for Jesus.
A source said, “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 Beeb also kept getting flak for effectively promoting Andrew’s commercial interests.
“ITV chief Peter Fincham is close to Andrew’s people and has been desperate to do something with him for ages. Now it’s finally happening.”
And it seems that the BBC aren’t the only once with issues over the new show as Tim Rice, who wrote the original lyrics to the musical, is apparently “not keen”.
The Sun’s source added, “He is not a massive fan of TV musical shows, he’s old school. It could be a sticking point.”
No premiere date for the new show has yet been announced, but we’ll keep you posted on that.