There’s set to be a new addition in the UK’s rolling news market this weekend with the arrival of new station GB News.
Announced in 2020, the upcoming network has been making headlines of its own in the last few months, amid speculation Piers Morgan could join the on-air team following his sudden departure from ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
Here’s what you need to know about what could end up being the controversial presenter’s new broadcasting home.
What is GB News?
GB News is a new 24-hour news channel which is launching on Sunday 13 June.
Station bosses have said it will be geared towards the “vast number of British people who feel underserved and unheard by their media”.
Many media commentators have also suggested GB News could be UK’s answer to conservative US broadcaster Fox News – something those in charge have denied.
Despite claims it will be right-leaning, chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos has said it will be “committed to impartial journalism”.
Setting out the station’s agenda in a Sunday Express piece, GB News’ chairman, former BBC broadcaster Andrew Neil, said: “I believe the direction of news debate in Britain is increasingly woke and out of touch with the majority of its people. I believe our national conversation has become too metropolitan, too southern and too middle-class.
“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.”
Who is involved with GB News?
GB News has been founded by media executives Andrew Cole and Mark Schneider and will be chaired by Neil, who will also host a primetime slot on the channel.
In January 2021, GB News announced plans to hire 120 journalists and 20 support staff, with a job advert stating recruiters were looking for “disruptors and innovators”.
“We are serious about changing things, so only apply if you genuinely want to make a difference and reflect the stories and issues that really matter to the people of the UK,” it said, adding that it does “not want to make traditional news or follow what everyone else is doing”.
Who are the GB News presenters?
The Sun’s former showbiz columnist and executive editor Dan Wootton was among the first to join the station’s on-air team, after also vacating his role on News UK’s talkRadio.
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.”
Former BBC News presenter Simon McCoy is among the other high-profile signings.
Simon left the BBC after 18 years earlier this year, announcing his new role shortly afterwards. He will host an afternoon show on GB News.
Former Sky Sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher, Darren McCaffrey, Nana Akua, Inaya Folarin Iman, Rebecca Hutson and Rosie Wright will host morning show The Great British Breakfast.
Other names you can expect to see on the channel include former Sky broadcaster Colin Brazier, former ITV newsreader Alistair Stewart, former Brexit Party member Alexandra Phillips, former Apprentice contestant Michelle Dewberry.
Broadcaster and author Neil Oliver, social commentator Mercy Muroki, former Labour MP Gloria De Piero and economist Liam Halligan will also be part of the on-air team.
There has also been speculation LBC’s Nick Ferrari and talkRadio’s Julia Hartley-Brewer could also join the station’s on-air team, not to mention a certain former Good Morning Britain host.
Speaking of which...
Is Piers Morgan joining GB News?
After it was announced that Piers Morgan had permanently left his position on Good Morning Britain following a backlash over comments he made about Meghan Markle after her US TV interview with Oprah Winfrey, there was immediate speculation about whether he’d join GB News.
Andrew Neil later said he’d be “delighted” to discuss a role at the channel with Piers.
While those talks have indeed since happened, Andrew has most recently admitted that they have stalled over pay.
“It would be nice to have him,” the former BBC presenter told the Evening Standard. “But he’s got his own idea of what he is worth and we have a slightly different idea of what he’s worth.”
Andrew added: “[Piers] is in a lucky situation because ITV are continuing to pay him a tonne of money so he doesn’t have to do anything in the short run.
“I don’t think he’s going to go anywhere else in the UK. If he has a huge American offer that’s a different matter. No one in the UK can compete with that but if he’s going to do more UK news TV I hope it will be with us.”
After doubling down on his comments about Meghan Markle following his GMB exit, Piers said he is “always in talks with people”, regarding future employment.
How has GB News been funded?
Dubai-based investment group Legatum and US broadcasting giant Discovery Inc are among those who have helped fund GB News.
Sir Paul Marshall, who is one of the UK’s most prominent hedge fund managers and was a donor to the Vote Leave campaign, also has a personal stake in the station.
Why has there already been controversy?
Despite the channel not yet airing any content, the social media group Stop Funding Hate has already been campaigning against GB News based on what they believe it will represent.
The group aims to stop brands and companies placing adverts with certain British media titles, which they argue use “fear and division to sell more papers”.
It has encouraged advertisers not to place adverts with GB News when it launches, using commentators’ suggestions it will be similar to Fox News to justify its campaign.
According to Press Gazette, Neil described the “woke warriors” behind the boycott as “hilarious”.
What are the GB News studios like?
The GB News studios are located in Paddington, west London and feature less conventional settings, with sofas and chairs replacing a traditional news desk.
What channel is GB News on?
It will be available to watch in HD on Sky channel 515 and Virgin Media’s channel 626, as well as also showing on Freeview and YouView channel 236, Freesat channel 216 and online.
Programming begins on Sunday 13 June at 8pm with a special launch show called Welcome To GB News.