Andrew Neil quizzed on GB News departure by Fiona Bruce
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The former chair of GB News, which was launched earlier this year, talked about his explosive exit from the channel, where he claimed he offered to carry on working for free. Andrew Neil left in September after announcing he didn’t like the direction the show was heading in, just months after its highly-anticipated launch.
Speaking about his exit agreement, the 72-year-old explained he was prepared to cover Nigel Farage’s show until December.
“They offered to pay me for that and, quite generously, I said I’ll do it for nothing,” he disclosed.
Andrew left after eight shows, and was due to return to GB News in September following a break.
Instead, the broadcaster announced he would be ceasing involvement.
He feels the channel will continue for a while, explaining: “The investors, with the exception of Discovery, they all love Nigel Farage, they regard him as huge, a big, big character.
“They believe it will succeed and they’re ideologically driven.”
Speaking to the Financial Times about his shock exit from GB News, he also talked about The Spectator magazine, which he has been chair of since 2008.
When asked if it was his favourite, Andrew replied: “Yes! It’s… well, I’m in overall charge.
“The editor reports to me and the commercial [side] reports to me, so if things go wrong in the end it’s my responsibility.”
GB News had been spearheaded by the journalist, who had sold it as a platform for all kinds of views.
It was launched in June but has reportedly had a tough time competing with other channels.
According to Broadcast now, GB News reeled in an average of 20,000 viewers at the end of September, down from 157,000 on its first air day.
Ratings of rivals broadcasters BBC and Sky News strongly overshadow GB News’ falling statistics.
Speaking following his decision to quit GB News, Andrew revealed how he truly felt about how his project had gone.
He said: “It just went from bad to worse. 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.”
Talking to MailOnline recently, 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.”
GB News kicks off with the Great British Breakfast on weekdays at 6am.
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