It’s barely been a month since it’s launch but the catalogue of mis-haps and misfortunes has been growing steadily. There also seems to be some factional infighting, with an ideologically right wing ‘anti-woke’ element working to take over control of the channel…
- John McAndrew, the Director of News and Programmes, quit this week following a row over the suspension of one of the presenters (Guto Harri), after he took the Knee in a gesture of solidarity against racist abuse suffered by a number of players in the England football team. McAndrew is understood to be unhappy about the right wing direction of the channel.
- Senior Executive Producer Gill Penlington also left on Friday.
- The GB News channel has reportedly recorded “zero viewers” in some time slots.
- As a result of low viewing figures, Simon McCoy is leaving his afternoon show and joining Kirsty Gallacher on the GB News breakfast show.
- Presenter Alastair Stewart has had to take a 6 week break after he broke his hip recently.
- Shortly after the launch, GB News chairman Andrew Neil announced that he was taking a break from his prime-time politics show. Neil is said to be at his house in France.
- The channel has been beset with technical problems from sound and lighting to on-air typos, issues with getting remote guests on air and some screening issues – issues that Andrew Neil is said to have been particularly upset about.
- Back in June, a number of major advertisers decided to pull their ads from the channel over concerns that the channel was taking a political direction that they were not aligned with.
In a desperate bid to turn around it’s fortunes, they’ve just announced a new addition to the team. Nigel Farage has been brought in to cover their 7-8pm slot (running Monday-Thursday), called ‘Farage’. This is seen as a clear victory for the right wing faction battling for control of the channel and Farage has already been hard at work stoking up controversy by insisting that ‘he’ won’t be taking the knee for anyone.
Although TV viewing figures are low, a GB news spokesperson has claimed that their “digital numbers are impressive” as a lot of people are watching the channel on their phones and tablets.
UPDATE (18th July 20210 : 6pm) : Presenter Guto Harri has now quit GB News. In a scathing resignation letter to GB News chief executive, Angelos Frangopoulos, Harri wrote “Before I took the knee on air I discussed it with my producer, director, co-presenters and head of newsroom. After I did it, GB News captured the moment and proactively cascaded it on social media. Two days later you told me you wanted me to take a break for the summer. You did not say you were briefing papers and issuing a statement that accused me of breaching your editorial standards. I asked you to change that on the night – pointing out it was defamatory. You ignored my texts and refused to take my calls. I now see that you’ve hired Nigel Farage who immediately declared in public that he will not be taking the knee… Please explain how that does not breach editorial standards but I did – so I can share it with my lawyers” He goes on to say that GB News was “becoming an absurd parody of what it proclaims to be… Rather than defending free speech and confronting cancel culture, it has set out to replicate it on the far right.”
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