Named GB News, the channel will launch in Britain next year with the ambition of providing an alternative voice to market stalwarts, including the BBC, ITV and Sky News. Neil will chair the venture, as well as presenting a primetime show.
Discovery is said to be the lead investor in GB News, which is looking to raise a further $55m-$65m before it goes live. Neil’s involvement is likely to be eye-catching for potential backers given his reputation in the UK.
Announcing his decision to leave the BBC to join GB News, Neil tweeted: “I’m delighted to announce I have accepted the post of Chairman of GB News, a new news channel to be launched early in the New Year bringing new perspectives to the news. I will also be presenting a new nightly prime-time show on GB News. Watch this space.”
Neil added that he held talks with new BBC director general, Tim Davie, about remaining with the broadcaster, but said it could not repair the “damage done” by canceling The Andrew Neil Show earlier this year. “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,” he added.
Neil tweeted a Spectator article (a publication he chairs) confirming Discovery’s involvement. The U.S. broadcaster is yet to comment on its investment and a representative directed Deadline to GB News.
According to Press Association, GB News will be led by media and telecoms executives Andrew Cole and Mark Schneider. The former is a board member at Liberty Global, which is run by major Discovery shareholder John Malone.
In response to Neil’s announcement, the BBC thanked him for his service.
— BBC News Press Team (@BBCNewsPR) September 25, 2020