Newsreader Simon McCoy to join GB News after leaving BBC

Presenter known for sardonic asides will host afternoon programme on new rightwing channel

The BBC newsreader Simon McCoy is leaving the corporation to join GB News, as the forthcoming rightwing news channel continues a hiring spree ahead of its launch this summer.

The presenter, best known to BBC viewers through viral clips of him offering sardonic asides on the day’s news, will host an afternoon programme on the new channel. Although he has decades of broadcast news experience, McCoy first achieved infamy after presenting a segment while holding a packet of printer paper after forgetting to take an iPad on set.

GB News is pushing ahead with the hiring of more than 100 staff across the UK ahead of its launch. Rather than stick to the traditional neutrality of British television news it will have an openly rightwing tone and has hired accordingly.

Andrew Neil will host a nightly show featuring a segment called Wokewatch, while other hires include Nigel Farage’s former LBC producer Christian Mitchell and the former Sun associate editor Dan Wootton. Although the station has only announced about a dozen on-air staff, three of them are former Brexit party candidates.

The channel claims to have raised £60m of funding, with backers including Paul Marshall, the Brexit-supporting hedge fund boss. It has spent heavily on hiring staff in addition to securing a rare slot on Freeview to ensure it is available in the maximum number of British homes.

Rehearsals are also due to start on News UK TV, a rival opinionated news channel being developed by Rupert Murdoch. However, that has focused on a much more modest plan to broadcast during evening peak hours only, with more of a focus on streaming. Its only formally announced programme is an evening panel show hosted by the former Scottish Sun editor Gordon Smart.

Within the television news industry the focus is on where Piers Morgan will end up, with the former Good Morning Britain host available for hire after quitting ITV’s breakfast show following his comments about Meghan Markle.

Contributor

Jim Waterson Media editor

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