Andrew Neil announces GB News channel to rival BBC and Sky

Terry O'Neill

Andrew Neil is launching a 24-hour, TV channel to rival rolling news from the BBC and Sky.

The broadcaster will be the face and chairman of GB News, signalling the end of his relationship with the BBC, where he has been one of the most respected political interviewers.

Plans are in place for "Britain's news channel", aimed at those who feel "underserved and unheard by their media", to launch early next year.

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Andrew Neil
Show's host Andrew Neil before The Chancellors Debate on the BBC current affairs programme The Daily Politics at BBC Millbank in London.
The Andrew Neil Show axed amid BBC cuts
Piers Morgan (L) and Andrew Neil attending the Grand Final of Miss Great Britain 2007, held at Grosvenor House hotel in central London.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 22: Andrew Neil attends The Spectator Parliamentarian Of The Year Awards at Rosewood London on January 22, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for The Spectator)
Andrew Neil arrives for the memorial service for photographer Terry O'Neill at The Grosvenor Chapel, in London's Mayfair district.
Broadcast and journalist Andrew Neil with his honorary degree in the East Quadrangle at Glasgow University after receiving it in a ceremony.
Andrew Neil, presenter of Sunday Politics, arrives at BBC Broadcasting House in London.
Andrew Neil arrives at the 2015 Costa Book Awards at Quaglino's, London.
Broadcaster Andrew Neil (left) and Michael Portillo arrive for the funeral service of Baroness Thatcher, at St Paul's Cathedral, central London.
Bishop Welby chats with Andrew Neil after collecting his award for Peer of the Year at this year's Spectator Magazine's Parliamentarian of the Year Awards, in central London.
PHOTO ONLY TO BE USED TO ILLUSTRATE MEMORIAL BURNET - NO ARCHIVING PERMITTED Handout photo issued by ITN of Andrew Neil attending a service of thanksgiving celebrating the life of former ITN presenter Sir Alastair Burnet at St-Martins-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London.
Andrew Neil during the Cartier International Polo day, held at the Guards Polo Club in the Great Park, Windsor, Berkshire. Picture date: Sunday July 25, 2010. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
BBC journalist Andrew Neil (front) and (left to right) Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, Scottish National Party Business Secretary John Swinney, Liberal Democrat Shadow Business Secretary John Thurso, and Conservative Shadow Business Secretary Ken Clarke ahead of recording BBC2's Election Daily Politics Debate, at Millbank Studios, in Westminster, London.
Show's host Stephanie Flanders, BBC Economics Editor and Andrew Neil before The Chancellors Debate on the BBC current affairs programme The Daily Politics at BBC Millbank in London.
Andrew Neil and Sir Jackie Stewart share a joke during the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Great Scot Award at Boisdale of Belgravia, London.
Ken Livingston (L) and Andrew Neil arriving at the Sir David Frost Summer Garden Party 2009, Carlyle Square in Chelsea, central London.
Andrew Neil and girlfriend arriving at the Sir David Frost Summer Garden Party 2009, Carlyle Square in Chelsea, central London.

The channel could shake up the TV news landscape, currently dominated by Sky News and BBC News.

As well as being appointed chairman, broadcaster and former Sunday Times editor Neil, 71, will host a flagship evening programme in primetime, leading the programming line-up.

He said: "GB News is the most exciting thing to happen in British television news for more than 20 years.

"We will champion robust, balanced debate and a range of perspectives on the issues that affect everyone in the UK, not just those living in the London area."

Neil, best known for The Andrew Neil Show, as well as This Week and Daily Politics on the BBC, added: "We've seen a huge gap in the market for a new form of television news.

"GB News is aimed at the vast number of British people who feel underserved and unheard by their media."

The BBC confirmed this summer that Neil's self-titled show would not return to TV screens after it came off air during the pandemic.

It said at the time it was in discussions about a new interview series with Neil.

Political interviewer and publisher Neil recently dismissed speculation that he was in the running to be the next BBC chairman, saying on Twitter that he has "no interest in the job".

At a time when the BBC and commercial media companies are cutting jobs, GB News said it hopes to create at least 120 positions.

They include more than 100 journalists in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland with the channel, in which global media and entertainment company Discovery, Inc is the lead investor.

GB News will feature more than 6,500 hours of content a year, made exclusively for the channel, which has secured broadcasting licences from Ofcom.

It has been founded by media executives Andrew Cole and Mark Schneider.

They said: "Andrew Neil epitomises what GB News is all about.

"He's an exceptional journalist, brilliant interviewer and fearlessly independent."

They plan for the channel to reach 96% of British television households via Freeview, Sky and Virgin Media.

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

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

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.

GB News said that more announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is also said to be planning the launch of a TV station.

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