Broadcaster and newspaper editor Andrew Neil has left the BBC to launch a news channel to rival the network.
The 71-year-old, who was a founding chairman of Sky TV in the 1980s, is leaving the broadcaster to launch GB News – a 24 hour news channel that seeks to rival Sky and the BBC with coverage aimed at those who feel “underserved and unheard by their media”.
Neil’s new channel will launch early next year, and his role will be as both chairman of the new offering and as a host on a flagship evening programme in primetime, leading the line-up.
Speaking of his new venture, he said: “GB News is the most exciting thing to happen in British television news for more than 20 years.”
He added: “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.”
The channel – founded by Andrew Cole and Mark Schneider – is reported to be inspired by the formula utilised by the likes of US broadcaster Fox News, which has a large audience share in the States.
Rupert Murdoch, who appointed Mr Neil as editor of The Sunday Times in 1983, is also reported to be planning the launch of a TV station.
Neil became a household name for his forensic interviewing style. Most recently he presented Politics Live and The Andrew Neil Show on the BBC.
The BBC previously confirmed Neil’s self-titled show would not return after its run was disrupted by the pandemic, as they thanked him a statement for his service.
Responding in a statement posted on Twitter, Neil said he left the BBC with “no animosity or desire to settle scores”.
He wrote: “Despite sterling efforts by new [Director General] 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.”
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