Discovery is to provide a quarter of the funding for a new ‘right-leaning’ news channel launching in the UK next year.
Its founders are Andrew Cole and Mark Schneider, two names familiar to European cable television through their association with Liberty Global. Distribution has been secured on Sky, Virgin Media and Freeview.
The chairman of GB News is Andrew Neil, who is also chairman of The Spectator magazine, and has been the BBC’s lead political interviewer for the past 25 years. A former editor of The Sunday Times, Mr Neil was also the founding chairman of Sky in 1988.
“GB News is the most exciting thing to happen in British television news for more than 20 years,” said Mr Neil. “We will champion robust, balanced debate and a range of perspectives on the issues that affect everyone in the UK, not just those living in the London area.”
Rather than provide a rolling news service, GB News will provide a more presenter-led format, along the lines of the US Fox News or MSNBC. Mr Neil will present a nightly programme.
The radio station LBC has provided a platform for right wing views, such as pro-Brexit politician Nigel Farage, but like all broadcasters it must adhere to Ofcom rules on impartially and has also given a voice to more liberal commentators.
This has the potential to change with the mooted appointment of former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre as the new chair of Ofcom.
The Financial Times reported GB News is still to raise the $55-$65 million needed to launch the project, but the combination of Discovery and Mr Neil is expected to encourage further investment.
A second new news channel is also in the offing, this time from Rupert Murdoch himself, who is looking at a project led by former CBS and Fox News executive David Rhodes.