ITV has apparently draughted in X Factor judge Simon Cowell to mastermind a new show that will go head to head with Gladiators on Sky One, according to reports.

ITV is said to have asked for Cowell’s production company Syco to make a big arena programme that will compete with Sky One’s revamp of the popular combat challenge series, which launches in the summer.

Sky One bought the rights to ITV’s 90s hit after it became a recent US smash.

An ITV insider told The Sun: “Our bosses were offered Gladiators but turned it down in favour of Simon’s idea. The two shows are going to war.”

Simon’s show – as yet untitled – is going to be modern and hi-tech, with interactive and video-gaming elements.

Ian Wright is tipped to host Gladiators and it’s thought that the show’s original referee, John Anderson, will return.

The arrival of Gladiators to Sky One spells the end of Cirque De Celebrite.

A Sky source said: “Cirque was a great show. But it won’t be returning in the forseeable future.

“We’re concentrating on Gladiators and Shane Richie’s karaoke game-show Don’t Forget The Lyrics.”