GB News channel in UK to target BBC, Sky

Former Sky News Australia chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos has been appointed CEO of GB News.
Former Sky News Australia chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos has been appointed CEO of GB News.

Veteran UK political reporter Andrew Neil is launching a 24-hour TV channel to rival rolling news broadcasters BBC and Sky News.

The presenter 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.

The channel could shake up the country's TV news landscape that is currently dominated by Sky News and BBC News.

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

Former Sunday Times editor Neil, 71, will host a flagship evening program in prime-time on GB News, leading the programming line-up.

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

"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 is best known for The Andrew Neil Show as well as This Week and Daily Politics on the BBC.

"We've seen a huge gap in the market for a new form of television news," he said.

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

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 has secured broadcasting licences from UK regulator Ofcom and hopes to reach 96 per cent of British television households via Freeview, Sky and Virgin Media.

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

Australian Associated Press