GB News launched on UK television on 13 June 2021 to significant viewing figures – despite technical difficulties.
Compared by some to the right wing US network Fox News, the news channel promises to “expose the growing promotion of cancel culture”.
It aims to focus on debate rather than rolling news coverage, and is fronted by veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil.
But GB News courted controversy from start, with companies pulling their advertising from the channel this week.
What channel is GB News on?
GB News is on Freeview channel 236 and Freesat on 216.
On Sky it’s on channel 515 and on Virgin Media it’s on channel 626.
You can also watch live on gbnews.uk
Who are the GB News hosts and is Andrew Neil coming back?
Former BBC politics correspondent Andrew Neil is the chairman of GB News.
He fronted the channel’s flagship news and politics programme, discussing the news of the day and interviewing political figures. His show is live from 8pm-9pm every weeknight.
But he announced he would step back from GB News duties from GB News less than two weeks after he launched the channel.
Speaking during his final 8pm slot on Thursday 24 June, Mr Neil said he would be away for a “few weeks” but would be back “before summer is out”.
He hasn’t tweeted about the channel in a fortnight (despite being active on Twitter) and speculation is mounting among industry commentators that Mr Neil may walk away from the network entirely.
Other big names who have joined GB News include:
- Apprentice winner and former Brexit party candidate Michelle Dewberry presents Dewbs & Co, which promises to be “unashamedly on the side of the unheard”.
- Daily Mail columnist and presenter Dan Wootton presents Tonight Live – “UK news with serious attitude”.
- Former Sky Sports broadcaster Kirsty Gallacher presents the Great British Breakfast, aiming to “leave you with reasons to be cheerful”.
- Former BBC presenter Simon McCoy has a show with Alex Philips which promises conversation about the issues on the “tip of the nation’s tongue”.
- Scottish history programs presenter Neil Oliver will celebrate the “best of Britain” with his show Neil Oliver Live.
- Former ITV presenter Alastair Stewart presents Alastair Stewart and Friends, an analytical take on the week’s latest stories.
What are the viewing figures for GB News?
Despite viewers complaining about sound and picture quality, as well as spelling mistakes, GB News launched with significant ratings on Sunday, June 13.
The new channel had a peak of more than 350,000 viewers on its first evening, Media Mole reports.
And its first full day on air averaged 74,100 views – close to Sky News’ 78,000 but not quite reaching BBC News' 138,400.
Responding to complaints about poor sound and lighting, GB News said it had made a “number of improvements”.
Since the high of the first week, viewing figures have fallen dramatically.
GB News hit zero viewers during some of its broadcasts this week, according to audience figures produced by rating agency Barb, The Guardian reports.
It comes after a viewer boycott prompted by one of its presenters taking the knee in solidarity with the England football team.
The channel has now said the decision of Guto Harri to make the on-air gesture on Tuesday in solidarity against the racist abuse suffered by English players was “an unacceptable breach of our standards”.
In a tweet on the official GB News account, the company added: “We let both sides of the argument down by oversimplifying a very complex issue.”
What is the criticism of GB News?
GB News has already sparked controversy, with Ofcom receiving 373 complaints about Dan Wootton’s anti-lockdown monologue.
Meanwhile, advertisers have been encouraged to withdraw from the channel by the campaign group Stop Funding Hate.
Among them, Swedish retailer Ikea said GB News did not align with its “humanistic values” and Octopus energy said it would only advertise if the channel was “genuinely balanced”.
GB News has been criticised for lacking balance – with debates stirring “anti-woke” culture wars and dubious statements going unchallenged.
GB News will broadcast seven days a week across the UK and Ireland.
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