Andrew Neil welcomed onto GB News by Farage as 'contributor'
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Former BBC broadcaster Andrew Neil has now been replaced by Colin Brazier, another veteran UK television journalist brought in from Sky News. Mr Neil confirmed after weeks of uncertainty that he was abandoning his post as chairman after a mere three months of the channel being on air.
Relationships with the board and chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos broke down because of disagreements about the direction of the company.
Mr Neil “took a break” from the channel only two weeks after its launch in June, hosting only nine shows, leaving Mr Brazier to take up the mantle for the 41 shows he missed while “recharging his batteries” at his home in France.
GB News is now on the back foot, working to dampen rumours over an exodus of staff, including those in senior positions who were supporters of Mr Neil.
The dramatic exit followed reports that three of the channel’s producers had walked last week, amid discontent over the plague of technical issues that have characterised the channel since it first went on air earlier this year.
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Mr Neil is expected to contribute to the channel via guest appearances and has already appeared as a pundit to discuss China’s influence on the UK’s universities.
In an email announcing the departure to staff, Mr Frangopoulos said Mr Neil had signed a multi-year contract and the company hoped he would stay longer.
He said: “Andrew helped set our tone, our purpose, even our launch date.
“He has been integral to every major programming and hiring decision.”
The former veteran BBC broadcaster is now free to appear on rival broadcasters and is already booked in to appear as a Question Time panellist on Thursday evening.
According to analysis by TV ratings compiler BARB, the average audience for GB News reached 14,657 last week, considerably below BBC News at 79,200.
It has now been left up to former Sky News journalist Colin Brazier to direct the channel through considerably choppy waters as we move into the end of 2021.
Mr Brazier will host an eponymous show – Brazier – at 8pm throughout the week.
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Changes are already underway under Mr Brazier’s leadership, with the ‘Woke Watch’ segment on Mondays and Wednesdays scrapped.
He credited his predecessor on Twitter as the news was announced, saying: “Andrew has been an inspiration to all of us at GB News.
“We look forward to seeing him again on the channel as a contributor.
“And, yes, having minded the shop for a few weeks, it’ll be nice to have my name above the door.”
Who is Colin Brazier?
Colin Brazier is a former Sky News anchor, most well known for presenting Sky News Today alongside Jayne Secker.
The 53-year-old broadcaster won an International Emmy award in 2016 for his coverage of the European migrant crisis.
According to his profile on the GB News website, he calls the news channel a “democratic necessity” and named the one person he would want to interview as the Queen.
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