Andrew Neil quizzed on GB News departure by Fiona Bruce
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GB News was spearheaded by Andrew Neil, who wanted to provide a platform for all kinds of views. It was launched in the summer but has had a hard time competing with rival channels. According to Broadcast now, GB News reeled in an average of 20,000 viewers last week, down from 157,000 on its first air day. Andrew, 72, has now left this involvement with the new channel despite being its founder and the prominent chair during the first few months.
Ratings of rivals broadcasters BBC and Sky News strongly overshadow GB News’ falling statistics.
Sky attracted an average viewership of 57,000 during the same time period, while BBC obtained an audience of 103,000.
Over the last week, Nigel Farage’s show on the channel was the top-rated, pulling in 80,000 on Monday at 7pm.
Andrew’s shock decision to quit comes just three months since his enthusiastic promises of a strong new format of live news, but he has been absent for a large majority of the time since GB News has been running.
Just two weeks after its launch, the broadcaster left the country for France as complaints flooded in about technical glitches on the new channel.
Speaking following his decision to quit GB News, Andrew revealed how he truly felt about how his project had gone.
“It just went from bad to worse,” he commented, adding: “There was one day we spent the whole day preparing the programme and fixing up a number of interviews down the line because that was the business model.
“At one minute to eight I sat down, earpiece in, microphone on, only to be told by the director we had no external communications, so I had no guests.”
He admitted: “I was in despair. Unlike other shows where there are two anchors so they can talk rubbish to each other, I was on my own.”
In a tell-all interview with the MailOnline, he continued: “We had to scour the newsroom and get Tom Harwood and Liam Halligan to come in so I had someone to talk to.
“Live TV is stressful at the best of times but not knowing whether or not the technology would work. It just got worse and worse.
“At one stage, we were waiting to go on air and the whole system went down.
“It had to be rebooted and we only managed it with 15 seconds to spare.”
He deemed his new station a “disaster” and that to carry on would have “killed” him.
Andrew used to be chairman of Sky and commented: “At Sky, we’d had three weeks of rehearsals before going on air.
“GB News barely had a week and there were so many hitches with the technology.
“The CEO wanted to get on the air, even if it was ramshackle, and then improve things.”
Sharing the revealing article to his 1.1million followers, Andrew penned: “And here it is.
“Folks can make up their own mind. GB News is just a disaster. I came close to a breakdown.”
GB News kicks off with the Great British Breakfast on weekdays at 6am.
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