Andrew Neil suddenly resigned Monday as the chairman and lead presenter of the conservative British network GB News, just three months after launching the channel that sought to become the United Kingdom’s answer to Fox News.
“I am sorry to go but I have concluded that it is time to reduce my commitments on a number of fronts,” Neil said in a statement. “I wish GB News well in continuing to fulfill its founding promise and mission to reach audiences currently underserved by existing news broadcasters.”
The “anti-woke” GB News, which only first hit the airwaves in June, responded by thanking Neil for his work and claiming he would continue to be a guest commentator on their programs going forward. “Andrew is without doubt one of the finest journalists and interviewers in this country,” the network said. “GB News thanks him for his 12 months of leadership, wisdom and advice, and we wish him well.”
The former BBC host, known as one of the most feared interviewers in British political news, had recently been on a long “summer break” after hosting only the first two weeks of his new primetime GB News show in June.
While Neil was expected to return to the air this month, his continued absence led to rumors that he had planned to exit the network, which is financially backed by Discovery. Following Neil’s break, GB News’ director of news and programming John McAndrews left in July, followed by a exodus of other production staff, including Neil’s producer Jamie McConkey.
Early on, GB News appeared to be mired in a rivalry between more traditional journalists like Neil and hard-right firebrands like Brexit politician Nigel Farage, who quickly replaced the ex-BBC presenter as the face of the network.
In perhaps a cruel twist of the knife, Neil will make his first appearance as a guest contributor Monday evening on Farage’s program.
Additionally, despite its much-hyped arrival to British television, GB News was quickly beset by technical problems, unhinged guests, and advertisers dropping out. Following the network’s debut, the channel has quickly seen its ratings plummet.