MX23RW : Thursday, January 27 14:19:42| >> :600:5958852:5958852:

Andrew Neil slams "UKIP tribute band" GB News

Andrew Neil slams
Andrew Neil launches another fierce attack on GB News following his ill-fated stint at the channel.

Former GB News chairman Andrew Neil has compared the station to a "UKIP tribute band" in his latest savage attack on his ex-employer.

The new news station launched in June promising to offer an alternative to the incumbent news broadcasters but was dogged by a series of technical mishaps in its first few weeks on air.

Neil fronted just two weeks of his flagship show before going on summer holiday, then announced in September that he had exited the venture.

In recent months the broadcaster has undergone multiple changes, including introducing news bulletins and more political programming, while its top-rated show is a weeknight programme hosted by Nigel Farage.

Speaking at Freeview's Outside The Box event, Neil said: "I had two concerns. One was that the production values were not the kind I had envisaged and I couldn't see how they could be rescued. It's not just embarrassing, it's heart-stopping.

"And when I stepped back...in a sense of panic they did start to move in a Fox News direction, which was not for me, so I didn't want to do it.

"It became apparent to me as the months of this year went on that a combination of the board and the founding members, that this was basically a UKIP tribute band, and that's what they really wanted."

He continued: "GB News is still haunted by the shambles of the launch and that will take a long while to overcome. I don't think it will close down, I think the investors are long-term and quite ideological – they like the direction the channel has gone.

"Part of the problem I faced chairing the board is that no-one on it knew anything about TV. They had an ideological view of what they should be doing but didn't know how to go about it. What made it stressful and difficult for me was it was my brand but the tech it was investing in, the people, the studio, weren't mine. That was a stupid mistake on my part."

Neil also revealed that he is keen to do one more project "on the TV front" in the future, explaining: "I don't want GB News to be the full stop on my broadcasting career."

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