Vaccine passport: GB News panel clash over French protests
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GB News got off to a rocky start in June, with several brands pausing their advertising on the channel citing concerns over the broadcaster’s content. Some 336,000 viewers tuned in to watch the launch of the channel. Then in July, GB News was reported as attracting zero viewers during some of its slots by the rating agency, Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (Barb).
However, viewing figures were significantly boosted later in July with the arrival of a new presenter, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
On July 28, Mr Farage’s 7pm slot managed to attract more viewers than BBC and Sky.
Mr Farage’s GB News show was watched by 107,700 viewers, while BBC’s Outside Source was watched by 93,300.
Sky’s show, Sky News Tonight, only gained the attention of 35,200 people.
In total, Mr Farage’s show brought in more than 14,000 viewers than the BBC, and 72,500 views more than Sky.
The success appears to have continued, as Mr Farage’s show on August 5 raked in 145,100 views, according to Guido Fawkes, beating BBC News’ 113,100 views and Sky News’ 29,100.
Mr Farage told Guido: “I am really pleased with the growth of these numbers and was surprised to beat Sky and the BBC news channel combined last night.”
He added: “GB News will go much further.”
Amid dwindling figures, GB News announced last month its plans to introduce the former Brexit Party chief as a presenter.
Mr Farage has since become a regular presenter for the 7pm to 8pm slots from Monday to Thursday.
Last month GB News posted a short film of Mr Farage on Twitter announcing his new show.
Mr Farage said: “So please, be there or be square. Seven o’clock. Monday evening. Farage.”
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He added that he “won’t be taking the knee for anyone on this show”, likely a reference to a controversy involving broadcaster Guto Harri, who took the knee on air during a discussion about racism towards England’s black footballers.
GB News suspended the journalist, saying the gesture breached its standards.
GB News tweeted: “We let both sides of the argument down by oversimplifying a very complex issue.”
Mr Harri later quit the channel, writing in the Sunday Times that GB News was “rapidly becoming an absurd parody of what it proclaimed to be”.
He wrote: “GB News captured the moment and proudly cascaded it through social media.
“Watch five minutes of the channel and you’ll see how presenters are encouraged to speak freely, confront sensitive subjects, engage in difficult debates and make a case.
“However, what followed was a tsunami of disappointment, resentment and hate.
“Old friends were amused to see me described as woke and Marxist.
“By Thursday night, the boss called and I’d been taken off air for the summer.”
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