There’s set to be a new addition in the UK’s rolling news market later this year 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 days, 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 later this year.
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”.
Days later, it was announced The Sun’s former showbiz columnist and executive editor Dan Wootton had joined 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.”
Other recruits so far include journalist and political commentator Inaya Folarin Iman, former Brexit Party member Alexandra Phillips, former Apprentice contestant Michelle Dewberry, Reach’s group head of video Rebecca Hutson and ITN’s former head of field operations Lucy O’Brien.
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…
Will Piers Morgan join 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 has since said he’d be “delighted” to discuss a role at the channel with Piers.
He told BBC News: “Piers would be a huge asset to GB News and we’ll definitely look at that… we haven’t started any negotiations yet but we would certainly be delighted to talk to him if he’s up for it.”
Asked if Piers would be able to make comments on GB News like those that sparked controversy prior to his GMB departure, Andrew added: “You’ll understand I wouldn’t want to negotiate with Piers Morgan on the airwaves of the BBC.
“All I would say is I wouldn’t really want to simply transfer what he did at GMB onto GB News. But could we find a role for Piers Morgan? Of course we could. Any network worth its salt could find a role for a broadcaster of his calibre.”
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”.
How will you be able to watch GB News?
Exact details are still TBC, but GB News says it expects to reach 96% of British television households via Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, YouView and Freesat.
There will also be streaming, video-on-demand and audio services.
A launch date is yet to be confirmed.