GB News ahead of BBC and Sky in viewing figures for launch

·2-min read

Watch: Andrew Neil launches GB News with hour-long special

New broadcaster GB News has recorded a strong start, striking out ahead of BBC and Sky in early viewing figures.

GB News launched at 8pm on Sunday with special programme Welcome To GB News, hosted by the channel's chairman Andrew Neil.

Early ratings figures showed that in its first three hours on air, the broadcaster beat both BBC and Sky's news channels for viewers.

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Andrew Neil presented the GB News launch show.

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Data from the Broadcasters Audience Research Board shows that GB News led with 164,400 viewers, or a 1.1% audience share, against 133,000 and 0.9% for BBC and 57,000 and 0.4% for Sky.

The period measured was from 7pm until 11pm, although the channel didn't actually launch until 8pm.

Dan Wootton on Lorraine (ITV)
Dan Wootton was part of launch night. (ITV)

Ex-BBC journalist Neil is the broadcaster's lead presenter. It aims to provide current affairs studio and debate, in a different model to the rolling news format of other established news channels.

The average ratings during its first hour on air were 262,000 (1.7%), reaching a peak of 336,000 a few minutes in.

After the launch programme, GB News aired regular show Tonight Live With Dan Wootton, hosted by the former Sun reporter, between 9pm and midnight. It drew in an average of 152,000 (1.3%) and peaked at 282,000 (1.8%).

Meanwhile, BBC News averaged 139,000 (1.2%) and Sky News averaged 71,000 (0.6%) between 9pm and midnight.

The new broadcaster is strongly rumoured to be signing up ex-Good Morning Britain star Piers Morgan for its line-up, although Neil has said he doesn't think Morgan will do another breakfast show.

Neil told the Radio Times: "All my indications are that Piers doesn’t want another breakfast show. But I think if he does any more British news TV it’s more likely to be with us than with anybody else.

Piers Morgan returns to his home in Kensington, central London, the morning after it was announced by broadcaster ITV that he was leaving as a host of Good Morning Britain. Picture date: Wednesday March 10, 2021. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
Piers Morgan is rumoured to be joining GB News. (Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)

"We’re in good discussions, we continue to stay in touch and he knows that we feel that he would be a great addition to the line-up."

Kirsty Gallacher is also one of the star presenters signed up for the channel's launch, and other names are expected to be added to the line-up.

Watch: Piers Morgan joining GB News?