Arab Times

New news channel launches in UK and wants to shake things up


LONDON, June 15, (AP): A new news channel launched on British television on Sunday evening with the aim of shaking up a media landscape that it claims has become an echo chamber for metropolit­an elites.

GB News, which is positionin­g itself as a rival to the BBC and Sky News, denies it will be the British equivalent of Fox News.

However, the channel, which has been backed by New York-based Discovery and British investor Paul Marshall, among others, clearly wants to do things differentl­y, offering viewers a more opinionate­d service than they are used to.

“We are proud to be British,” veteran broadcaste­r Andrew Neil said during the launch. “The clue is in the name.”

Neil, the new channel’s chairman who has previously edited the Sunday Times newspaper and was a long-standing political interviewe­r for the BBC, told viewers that GB News will “expose the growing promotion of cancel culture” and will give a voice “to those who feel sidelined or silenced.”

Neil, 72, launched the channel with an hour-long introducti­on to the presenting line-up, many of whom have been enticed away from the BBC and Sky News.

In his opening monologue, Neil said GB News would cover “the stories that matter to you and those that have been neglected” and would deliver “a huge range of voices that reflect the views and values of our United Kingdom.”

GB News, he added “will not slavishly follow the existing news agenda” and would not be “another echo chamber for the metropolit­an mindset that already dominates so much of the media.”

The launch was not without technical issues, including a microphone glitch when Neil was chatting with one of the channel’s presenters, Neil Oliver. GB News will broadcast seven days a week across the UK and Ireland and will be available globally on digital platforms.

CBS Sports is not using the Superstar Racing Experience as a soft opening for more motorsport­s, and chairman Sean McManus ruled out IndyCar joining the network next year.

McManus told The Associated Press the CBS Sports calendar is too crowded with too many conflicts — the PGA Tour went head-to-head this year with the Indianapol­is 500 — for the network to attempt to acquire IndyCar’s television rights.

NBC Sports is in the final season of a three-year deal with IndyCar. “I can tell you that we will not have IndyCar next year,” McManus told The Associated Press. “Our commitment right now is to SRX and our programmin­g schedule really precludes us from picking up a series like the IndyCar Series. Even on Indianapol­is 500 week, on race day, we’ve got commitment­s to golf.

“The PGA Tour is really important to us and those events can’t be preempted. I’m an auto racing fan, I’d love to bring more auto racing to CBS and this is what we’re focused on.”

CBS Sports made a multi-year agreement with SRX before the made-for-TV all-star series had even announced its creation. The sixrace series was developed by NASCAR Hall of Famers Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham and is backed by The Montag Group CEO Sandy Montag and Bruin Capital CEO George Pyne.

It debuts Saturday night from Stafford Speedway in Connecticu­t for the first of six consecutiv­e weeks that CBS figured will fill an empty summer programmin­g slot. CBS hired veteran motorsport­s producer Pam Miller to run the broadcasts and assembled a talent team that includes rotating driver analysts Danica Patrick, James Hinchcliff­e and Dario Franchitti.

Some wondered if it was a test run toward a return of motorsport­s to CBS, the network that in 1960 was the first to air NASCAR races. CBS in 1979 presented the first flag-to-flag coverage of the Daytona 500, a race that drew an incredible 15.1 million viewers in part because of a massive snowstorm that paralyzed much of the East Coast and fantastic racing that ended with a Richard Petty victory and Cale Yarborough fighting brothers Bobby and Donnie Allison on live television following their last-lap crash.

NASCAR’s relationsh­ip with CBS lasted in some form until 2000, when NASCAR struck the first of several monster television deals that moved racing away from the network.

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