GB News has signed up Nigel Farage for a new primetime show in a bid to put a halt to the channel’s plummeting audience numbers.
The former Brexit Party leader will host Farage at 7pm on the news channel from Monday.
GB News, launched last month as a right-leaning alternative to the BBC and Sky News promoting “anti-woke” US-style news but has so far struggled to pull in audiences and has been criticised for poor production values.
Its chairman, Andrew Neil, decided to step away from the channel for an unexpected break just two weeks after its launch, brands have pulled ads over content concerns and earlier this week it was revealed some GB News programming was receiving zero viewers by the metrics of the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (Barb).
Mr Farage’s appointment is part of a reboot of programming designed to attract more viewers.
In a video announcing the news, he said “I will not be taking the knee for anyone on this show” in reference to presenter Guto Harri, who made the gesture on air earlier this week.
The channel’s director of news and programmes, John McAndrew, has reportedly stepped down and Mr Harri is said to have been taken off air over the incident.
On Thursday, GB News apologised after Mr Harri made the gesture while discussing the racial abuse suffered by members of the national side following their loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.
The channel said in a tweet the incident had been an “unacceptable breach of our standards”.
Mr Farage added: “Since politics I have done a fair bit of broadcasting and broadcasting matters. It really, really does.
“It gets people to look at issues, think about issues in different ways and can be very influential.”
Mr Farage said he had more than three years broadcasting experience at LBC and suggested he had enjoyed “some degree of success” at the talk radio station.
“On YouTube I’ve had millions of people watching my videos and often I’ve covered stories that everybody else wants to ignore,” he added.
Earlier in the day, he said on Twitter he would be announcing a “big career change”.
The former MEP was among the first guests to appear on the fledgling broadcaster, featuring on Dan Wootton’s show during launch night.
GB News chairman Andrew Neil, who has been absent from the channel since announcing his two-week break, lept to the defence of the channel on Friday, saying it was “finding its feet” but had a “great future” ahead of it.
Additional reporting by PA