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BBC rival GB News to start broadcasting 'within weeks'

·2-min read
 Andrew Neil plans to attract viewers that dislike the BBC - ITV/Shutterstockdrew Neil / Ken McKay 
Andrew Neil plans to attract viewers that dislike the BBC - ITV/Shutterstockdrew Neil / Ken McKay

GB News will begin its challenge to the BBC from the end of this month when the news network launches its TV channel.

TV platforms are gearing up for the 24-hour news channel to go live on May 31st, The Telegraph can reveal.

Industry sources said the opinionated news service will begin by broadcasting showreels of its presenters from May 27, with live programming set to start four days later.

However, GB News said the timing of the launch had not been decided.

"The only confirmed dates are related to technical launches," a GB News spokeswoman said.

"No date has been decided for the launch of live programming. That decision will not be made for some time, possibly weeks."

GB News will air on Freeview channel 236 and will be broadcast across Sky, Virgin Media, YouView and Freesat, alongside a dedicated on-demand streaming service.

The news network spearheaded by veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil plans to battle the BBC by targeting audiences that dislike Auntie's rolling news coverage.

The channel is backed by American broadcaster Discovery and has hired a raft of seasoned journalists, including veteran ITV news anchor Alastair Stewart and former BBC News presenter Simon McCoy.

Colin Brazier, the former Sky News presenter, said he joined GB News because "the mainstream broadcasters were getting out of touch with a large portion of the viewership".

"I think people will be surprised to find that it is not as shrill as they are expecting," he added. "It is going to be more thoughtful and positive, and it will not be po-faced.

"Sometimes watching the existing news offerings can feel like being in the audience for an extended sociology lecture - and I don't think this will."

GB News was locked in a race with Rupert Murdoch to become the first organisation to launch a right-leaning news channel before the summer.

However, News UK scrapped its plans for a TV channel last month, claiming it was not "commercially viable". It is now focused on launching a news streaming service.

Alongside Discovery, GB News is backed by hedge fund manager Sir Paul Marshall and the Dubai-based investment fund Legatum.

The broadcaster has secured enough investment to hire 120 journalists in its attempt to shake up the media landscape.

The Telegraph's economics commentator Liam Halligan is also joining GB News as economics and business editor.

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