Launch of channel GB News expected to shake up TV news landscape

A new channel is expected to shake up the TV news landscape this weekend with the launch of GB News.

The network, chaired by veteran broadcaster and former BBC political interviewer, Andrew Neil, has announced a raft of high profile signings, including former Sky Sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher, ex-BBC presenter Simon McCoy and former ITV presenter, Alastair Stewart.

It will be a new player on the TV news scene, which is currently dominated by Sky News and BBC News.

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Sky launched a 24-hour news channel in 1989 and the BBC followed, in the UK, in 1997.

The channel will launch at 8pm on June 13 with a special programme called Welcome To GB News.

It will broadcast seven days a week across the UK and Ireland and will be available globally on GB News digital platforms.

Former Daily Politics presenter Neil will lead the evening line-up with a prime-time news and interview programme.

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Other high profile signings include businesswoman and former Apprentice winner, Michelle Dewberry, broadcaster and author, Neil Oliver, known for programmes including Coast and A History Of Ancient Britain, and Andrew Doyle, who will host a show called Free Speech Nation.

GB News has also recruited a team of regional reporters to help serve its mission of involving “non-metropolitan voices in the national conversation”.

Stewart, who will anchor Alastair Stewart And Friends, featuring conversation and analysis of current affairs, told the PA news agency: “Here we are in 2021, we’re still just coming out of Brexit and looking to what Great Britain, the United Kingdom, will be like post-Brexit.

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“You’ve got things like the Northern Ireland protocol causing problems down in Cornwall, and the fisheries and so on and so forth. But also, hopefully whether it’s June 21 or a couple of weeks later, we are coming out of the worst of the coronavirus.

“And the timing is perfect, because what I really want to do as well is interview, report on, and explore with people who’ve got brilliant ideas for what the country will look like in the next 10, 15, 20 years.

“And that will be young entrepreneurs, it’ll be people with good ideas over education and training. It will be people setting up new businesses, it’ll be the next generation of politicians who are going to be secretaries of state in 10 years’ time, etc etc etc.

“So I genuinely think we’re in a kind of tipping point in modern history. GB News sweeps onto the scene, not just reporting on it all, but exploring what the future might look like as well, which is quite unusual for a news programme but one that I think will give us added voom.”

Former Sky News executive editor, John McAndrew, will be director of news and programming and ex-Sky News Australia chief executive, Angelos Frangopoulos, has been appointed chief executive officer.

The channel is backed by US broadcasting giant Discovery Inc, as well as Dubai-based investment group Legatum and one of the UK’s most prominent hedge fund managers, Sir Paul Marshall.

It 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.