Simon McCoy: Comparisons between GB News and Fox News are unfortunate

Comparisons between GB News and Fox News are “unfortunate”, according to journalist Simon McCoy.

The former BBC broadcaster is one of a number of high-profile figures who have joined the new channel, which is chaired by veteran political interviewer Andrew Neil.

It launches on Sunday evening with a special programme called Welcome To GB News.

McCoy, who left the BBC earlier this year after nearly 18 years, will co-host an afternoon programme on the network with journalist Alex Phillips.

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He told the PA news agency: “I think it will be a more friendly approach to news.

“We’re not a news channel in the sense of Sky News or the BBC, because we can never do what they do, we’re not going to be telling you what’s happening in all corners of the globe, and nice polished packages that go with that.

“We’re much more about getting a feel of what matters to people and reflecting that.

“Something I was very keen on at the BBC was getting out into much more regional aspects of the UK, I relaunched Nationwide on the News Channel and that was very successful for the viewers, for as long as it ran.

“Emphasis on hearing what’s going on elsewhere in the country, and certainly not just in London, is hugely important.

“It’s very easy to put the emphasis on Westminster, and what’s happening in London, without realising the impact of what’s being said there is being felt elsewhere in the country.”

He continued: “I think we need to talk about things that others find uncomfortable, or perhaps too difficult or fearing to tread where they may touch some nerves.

“I don’t think we’ll be afraid to tread anywhere. And if there’s one particular story that we know people are talking about, we’re gonna stick with it. And we’ll take people’s calls, we’ll talk to them and if there are people that they have questions to ask, we’ll try and get them on air to answer them.”

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McCoy said he hopes the channel will combine “the authority and the friendliness of CNN, but it has the fun and the abrasiveness of Nick Ferrari on the LBC breakfast show”.

Discussing comparisons that have been made to the US right-wing network Fox News, he said: “I think there are certainly preconceptions about GB News.

“This unfortunate Fox News analogy, it seemed to take root in some parts of the Twittersphere, and that’s a shame because it just misunderstands exactly what we’re doing. And the only way we can disprove it is to go on air and be what we want to be.”

Neil has previously said “any network worth its salt” could find a role for Piers Morgan following the star’s exit from Good Morning Britain.

Asked about the prospect of Morgan joining the ranks of GB News, McCoy said: “I would welcome any experienced journalists to this line-up, we have lots of differing voices, more will be announced and you may not get on with them, you may not agree with them, but the whole point of what we’re doing is listening.

“We will discuss, we will raise the issues and see what people think about it.

“I think Piers Morgan would be an asset wherever he went, to be honest.

“He provokes arguments, the ratings for Good Morning Britain speak for themselves.

“You may not agree with them, you may dislike him, you may think he has some questions to answer about his previous life, but I would rather he was part of the media scene than wasn’t.”

The channel will launch at 8pm on Sunday and will be available to watch in HD on Sky channel 515 and Virgin Media’s channel 626, as well as also showing on Freeview and YouView channel 236, Freesat channel 216 and online.