Jeremy Vine discusses GB News presenter taking the knee
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GB News launched at the end of June 2021 and in its first four weeks on air, it has faced a number of challenges. The British network, chaired by former BBC journalist Andrew Neil, hoped to broadcast original news and opinion. But has it reached crisis point following recent setbacks?
Will GB News be cancelled?
GB News was granted its licence to broadcast by Ofcom back in 2020 and with the help of £60 million in funding, it launched in June 2021.
A huge recruitment drive saw the network take on at least 17 programme hosts, including Andrew Neil himself.
There were a few technical issues during the launch, but it proved to be an overall success.
In its first couple of days on air, it overtook its news rivals with impressive viewership ratings.
However, the network continued to face numerous hiccups and it has since lost a number of key contributors.
Guto Harri was one of the latest presenters to have been taken off air after he took the knee during a live broadcast.
His actions came following England’s defeat against Italy in the Euro 2020 final, as the result had been met with racist abuse.
He resigned from his position following the backlash and one of the network’s senior executives quit shortly after.
According to The Guardian, John McAndrew, the channel’s director of programming, left the station.
Express.co.uk contacted the network’s media team for clarification on the latest developments, but they had no comment to make at this time.
The channel has found itself overwhelmed with complaints and a growing boycott from viewers.
There has also been some speculation over Neil’s involvement with the network following the departure of key figures.
However, the journalist tweeted an update on July 16 which suggested he still had a positive relationship with the channel.
He said: “Start ups are fraught and fractious. @GBNEWS is no exception. But the news channel is finding its feet and has a great future. Watch this space.”
In a move to pull the network back to its feet, on June 20 former UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Conservative MP Dehenna Davison were brought in to host the Sunday morning show The Political Correction.
Farage said on Twitter: “I believe in @afneil. He is one of the most intelligent broadcasters we have seen in our lifetime and will make GB News a great success.”
This is just one of the steps the network is taking to improve, with broadcaster and comedian Mark Dolan also coming on board.
He will be hosting Tonight Live on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and he said: “My show will tackle the issues that really matter to people across the United Kingdom in a stimulating, informative but entertaining way.
“My one promise is that it won’t be boring!” his first show will air on July 23 at 9pm.
Meanwhile, presenter Nana Akua will launch her own self-titled show, which will air on weekend afternoons at 3pm.
The official Twitter account for the network shared a number of new recruitment drives, indicating it will not come off air any time soon.
They are in search of producers, directors, designers, digital producers, tech operatives and more.
Rachel Sweeney, North East reporter for the network, shared a positive message on Twitter defending Neil’s venture.
She said: “GB News is five weeks old. We have lots of growing ahead and with such a driven team, I know we will.
“No other national outlet champions regional reporters in this way. As @afneil says, watch this space!”
GB News airs on Sky, Freeview and Virgin Media.
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