Nigel Farage will take center stage in GB News in a victory for the right-wing faction on the embattled TV channel. The former Ukip leader will host a nightly primetime show starting Monday as part of a reboot of programming designed to attract more viewers.
The new channel faces plummeting audience figures and a division in management between those seeking to maintain broader regional news coverage and those planning to increase coverage of the “culture wars.”
And, if a larger serving of Farage isn’t enough to attract the public, another famous potential savior may soon be available. Piers Morgan, who left Good Morning Britain in March, could take on a prominent role on the new TV channel. Morgan, 56, is in lengthy negotiations with management, but must first deal with his contractual ties to ITV.
Farage made his announcement on Twitter on Saturday, urging his followers to “be there or be square.” Farage said he would not kneel “for anyone,” a reference to the controversy that the boycott of viewers sparked last week.
Presenter Guto Harri, a former BBC correspondent, was taken off the air for what GB News described as a “violation of the guidelines” after he symbolically “knelt down” during a discussion about racism towards black footballers on the team. from England after last Sunday. Final Euros. Harri, a former Boris Johnson physician during his first term as London mayor, argued that it was a completely harmless act, but his move was misjudged by the leadership. The decision to remove it from view was prompted by a boycott campaign among “anti-awakening” viewers that may explain the lack of audience for other shows.
On Friday night, Andrew Neil, one of the station’s founders, also suggested that new developments were nearby, saying, “Watch out for this space.” Tweeting about GB News for the first time in almost a fortnight, he also confirmed the dispute within management: “Startups are tense and unruly. @GBNEWS is no exception. But the news channel is finding its footing and has a great future. “
Neil, a former BBC political anchor and journalist, is not presenting his show on GB News at the moment as he took a long break to spend time at his home in the south of France. It is unclear if there are any plans for it to return or broadcast from there, as British quarantine regulations tighten.
The channel, which launched a month ago, was billed as a vigorous challenge to the established diet of British broadcast news. But for now, getting someone to “look at this space” has been a problem. In Neil’s absence, the only loyal fanbase is for a show led by the controversial Dan Wootton, formerly of The Sun and the now-defunct News of the World. He is one of the most viewed anchors and one of the most reported on GB News. Other shows have had trouble finding an audience.
Last week, The Guardian revealed negligible audience figures for business editor Liam Halligan and former Labor MP Gloria De Piero’s Wednesday lunchtime show, and again for an evening show hosted by former BBC presenter Simon McCoy and former Ukip spokesperson Alex Phillips.
On Friday, one of the channels’ key executives, programming director John McAndrew, resigned, the guardian revealed. A respected Sky News and Euronews veteran, he was seen as the channel’s second-in-command. It is believed he was unhappy with pressure from the administration to cut down on local content and drive stubborn debate.
Another prominent GB News host, Alastair Stewart, has also walked away from the studio in recent days after breaking his hip in a riding accident.
The veteran announcer has promised: “I’ll be back.”