Discovery-backed channel GB News will launch June 13 in the U.K. with a special program “Welcome to GB News.”
The channel will be available on Freeview channel 236, Sky HD, Virgin Media HD, YouView channel 236 and Freesat channel 216, besides mobile and online.
GB News is backed by Discovery and several other mostly non-British based financiers to the tune of £60 million ($82 million). The operation is led by chair Andrew Neil.
Neil helped Rupert Murdoch launch Sky TV back in the late 1980s. He was once an outspoken critic of the BBC when he edited the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times, but later became the one BBC interviewer most feared by British politicians of all stripes. His BBC show was later axed.
Neil leads the evening line-up with the prime time news and interview program “Andrew Neil,” while businesswoman and former “The Apprentice” winner Michelle Dewberry will host “Dewbs & Co” every weeknight.
Dan Wootton, former executive editor of The Sun, will front “Tonight Live with Dan Wootton” five nights a week. Broadcaster Nana Akua, who has had stints with BBC and ITV, will host “Tonight Live with Nana Akua.”
Archaeologist, author and journalist Neil Oliver will host “Neil Oliver Live” and comedian, writer and cultural commentator Andrew Doyle will host “Free Speech Nation,” a take on current affairs.
Alastair Stewart will anchor current affairs analysis show “Alastair Stewart & Friends.” Journalist Colin Brazier and social commentator Mercy Muroki will co-host a show together, as will former Labour MP Gloria De Piero and economist Liam Halligan and journalists Simon McCoy and Alex Phillips.
Fronting the channel’s morning show “The Great British Breakfast” will be Akua, Kirsty Gallacher, Rebecca Hutson, Inaya Folarin Iman, Darren McCaffrey and Rosie Wright, all of whom will work across other programs and news stories as well.
GB News has also hired regional reporters across the U.K.
“We can sense a real hunger for something fresh and different in television news and debate,” said director of news and programming John McAndrew. “It’s humbling because we are a small start-up with a fraction of the resources of others, but what we lack in size we make up for in passion and determination to provide a welcoming home for honest British news and debate.”
McAndrew is an experienced British TV news operator who worked with Neil at the BBC and was a senior news executive at Sky News.
“All our presenters will have the freedom to say what they think, to have some fun and to be brave about covering the issues that really matter to the people of Britain,” McAndrew added.
The channel is set up to be a disruptor, unlike the normally staid nature of U.K. news channels.
Plans for another news channel with potentially provocative content, Rupert Murdoch’s News U.K. channel, are currently on hold due to the prohibitive costs of setting up such an enterprise. News U.K. chief Rebekah Brooks said in April that the company would look instead at providing news via shows on streaming platforms.
GB News is currently broadcasting test content on Freeview and YouView Channels 236 and Freesat channel 216.