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.

He said the channel would be aimed at those who feel “underserved and unheard by their media”, and is planned to launch early next year.

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

As well as being appointed chairman, the 71-year-old broadcaster and former Sunday Times editor will host a flagship evening programme.

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.

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”.

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Recent guidance from the BBC’s new director-general Tim Davie about curbing employees’ use of Twitter was thought to be aimed at stars including Neil, who had been accused of letting his views show in his online comments.

The BBC thanked Neil for his work on Friday night, saying in a statement: “We wish Andrew every success in his new role; we’re sorry the US election coverage will be his last BBC presentation work for the foreseeable future but he will always be welcome at the BBC.”

In a statement posted on Twitter, Neil said Davie’s “sterling efforts” could “not quite repair” the damage done by the cancellation of his Politics Live show.

He said: “With heavy heart I announce I will be leaving the BBC. Despite sterling efforts by new DG to come up with other programming opportunities, it could not quite repair damage done when Andrew Neil Show cancelled early summer + Politics Live taken off air. But I leave with no animosity or desire to settle scores. I look back on my 25 years doing live political programmes for the BBC with affection.”

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

This will include more than 100 journalist jobs 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.

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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 TV 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.

Angelos Frangopoulos, the former chief executive of Sky News Australia, has been appointed chief executive officer.



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