GB News beats TalkTV to more high-profile Virgin Media channel slot

Broadcaster GB News live studio at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. Picture date: Monday October 4, 2021. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/Empics
GB News is moving up the channel listings. (Empics)

GB News has beaten newbie news channel rival TalkTV to a more high-profile slot on Virgin Media.

The channels are both recent launches in the TV news market and have both struggled with ratings since arriving on screen, with some speculating that their channel listings far away from the other major broadcasters could be a part of the problem.

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Rivals GB News and TalkTV were vying to lift themselves out of Virgin Media slots 626 and 627 respectively, but GB News has won the battle over Rupert Murdoch's channel by moving up to slot 604.

It will mean that the channel will sit between Sky News and BBC Parliament, with BBC News HD in nearby 601, which should help in attracting a larger audience.

Jeremy Kyle and Piers Morgan. (TalkTV)
Jeremy Kyle and Piers Morgan present at TalkTV. (TalkTV)

Meanwhile, TalkTV stays at 627 which sees it placed far from the UK news channels and below international news broadcasters including Al Jazeera, CNBC and France 24.

Neither channel has attracted particularly large viewing figures, despite signing up a range of big name presenters for their primetime slots.

Recent audience figures from 28 July showed GB News outperforming TalkTV - Murdoch's channel's 7pm show The News Desk with Tom Newton Dunn had an audience of 2,500, while Piers Morgan Uncensored at 8pm attracted 33,900.

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Over on GB News, their 7pm show presented by Nigel Farage drew 64,000 viewers and the channel's 8pm show had 46,000 viewers.

BBC News had audiences of 72,000 and 58,000 in the 7pm and 8pm slots on the same date.

Liz Truss and Rushi Sunak with host TalkTV Political Editor Kate McCann at TalkTV's Ealing Studios, west London, before the start of The Sun's Showdown: The Fight for No10, the latest head-to-head debate for the Conservative Party leader candidates. Picture date: Tuesday July 26, 2022. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
Kate McCann fainted on air during TalkTV's Tory leadership debate. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Murdoch, who had originally eyed investing in GB News before deciding to launch a rival channel, snapped up former Good Morning Britain host Morgan in his first TV role since quitting the ITV breakfast news show after an on-air row about Meghan Markle.

His deal with the media mogul's company News Corp also includes columns in The Sun and New York Post, contributing to Fox News, a book deal, and making a series of true crime documentaries that will see him take a break from TalkTV over the summer.

While he is away, channel mate Jeremy Kyle will be covering Uncensored and is also a former ITV presenter, his chat show The Jeremy Kyle Show having been dropped by ITV after the death of a guest.

TalkTV was recently forced to cut short its Tory leadership debate when host Kate McCann fainted live on air, but last week attracted a coveted interview with Rebekah Vardy following losing her Wagatha Christie libel case.

Watch: Tory leadership TV debate halted after host collapses