GB News: what is Scottish journalist Andrew Neil's news channel, when does it launch - and who are the presenters?

The channel’s presenters include Dan Wootton, executive editor of The Sun

GB News, the new TV channel chaired by Andrew Neil, launches in the UK soon.

It has been billed as the biggest news TV channel to be created since Sky News went on air 30 years ago.

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The channel has yet to broadcast any coverage, but it has already faced an attempted advertising boycott started by campaign group Stop Funding Hate following speculations that the channel will be similar to Fox News.

Broadcaster Andrew Neil will head GB News as well as presenting a nightly news programme on the channel (Getty Images)Broadcaster Andrew Neil will head GB News as well as presenting a nightly news programme on the channel (Getty Images)
Broadcaster Andrew Neil will head GB News as well as presenting a nightly news programme on the channel (Getty Images)

Here’s everything you need to know about GB News, including its presenters and launch date.

What is GB News?

Since GB News was announced it has been billed as the UK’s version of American right-wing channel Fox News.

Journalists who were approached to work at the channel told the Telegraph that it was pitched to them as a right-wing alternative to the BBC.

Broadcaster Andrew Neil will head GB News as well as presenting a nightly politics programme on the channel.

He has repeatedly denied claims that it will emulate Fox News, insisting its programmes will conform to Ofcom rules on impartiality and that it “will not be shouty, angry television”.

GB News has plans to air 6,500 hours a year of “original news, opinion and debate”.

Neil has described his aim as to do “what the US channels do”, which is “programming built around strong presenters which becomes an appointment to view”.

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GB News’ job adverts for journalists called for people who can “tap into what the country is talking about” and those who do “not want to make traditional news or follow what everyone else is doing”.

The channel’s CEO, ex-Sky News Australia chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos, has said the channel will be “staunchly independent”.

In a letter complaining about a Guardian column written about the channel, Frangopoulos wrote: “GB News will be staunchly independent. That is our point. Our investors know this, our journalists will know it and so will our viewers.

“We aim to serve British communities who feel poorly represented by mainstream television media, especially outside London.

“We are proud to be adding plurality to UK media by investing in journalism that will be as diverse and broad-minded as the British people themselves.”

What has Andrew Neil said about the new channel?

On the same day that GB News faced an attempted advertising boycott prompted by Stop Funding Hate, Neil said his new channel would not be “woke”.

The journalist, who is a former editor of The Sunday Times and chairman of The Spectator, said he had joined GB News because he believed “the direction of news debate in Britain is increasingly woke and out of touch with the majority of its people”.

He added: “I believe our national conversation has become too metropolitan, too southern and too middle-class.

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“Some journalists and commentators seem too confident that their liberal-left assumptions must surely be shared by every sensible person in the land.

“But many of those same sensible people are fed up. They feel left out and unheard.

“There’s a restlessness, a sense that they’re being talked down to; that much of the media no longer reflects their values or shares their concerns.

“GB News is aimed squarely at those people.”

When does GB News launch?

A launch date for the new TV channel has not yet been confirmed.

Neil said last year that he was aiming for the channel to air in March 2021.

Who are the presenters?

The GB News presenters will have a “bit of edge, a bit of attitude, personality”, according to Neil.

As well as his role as chairman, he will host his own flagship evening programme at primetime.

Dan Wootton, The Sun’s executive editor and Talkradio drivetime presenter, became the new channel’s first big signing.

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The journalist has worked at The Sun for seven years, and has called the chance to join GB News “too good to pass up”.

He said: “I feel passionately about GB News’ bold vision to bring a fresh approach to television news and debate that embraces all voices and opinions across Britain.”

Rebecca Hutson, former head of video at Reach, has been appointed as head of digital at the channel but she will also appear on-air.

Former Sky News executive editor John McAndrew will be director of news and programming, while media executive Marc Schipper will be chief operating officer.

GB News is understood to have raised £60million in investments, including from US-based network Discovery Inc, Dubai investment group Legatum, and Vote Leave-backing hedge fund manager Sir Paul Marshall.

How can I watch GB News?

GB News has signed a long-term deal with TV transmitter network Arqiva.

It aims to reach 96 per cent of UK households through all major platforms including Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, YouView and Freesat.

The new channel hopes to rival the viewers of “the major public service broadcasters”.

It will also have streaming, video on-demand and audio services.