Farage Beats Establishment Sky News in First Week of Prime Time UK TV Show

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage poses for a photograph in boxing gloves during his visit to Gator ABC Boxing Club in Ilford, east London on November 13, 2019, during a general election campaign visit. - Britain will go to the polls on December 12 to vote in a pre-Christmas general …
NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images

Brexit leader Nigel Farage’s new nightly GB News television show beat rival Sky News every night it aired in the first week of broadcast.

Audience figures reported by the Guido Fawkes website revealed that Farage beat Sky News’s Sky News Tonight with Dermot Murnaghan every single day it was aired (Monday to Thursday).

Farage debuted last Monday, days after the Brexit leader announced he was starting an evening show in addition to co-hosting the Political Correction programme on the network on Sundays.

A GB News source speaking to the political news website said that bosses at the station are “pleased that Nigel’s star power has given them a much-needed boost after a turbulent few weeks” — likely alluding to the controversy over one of its guest presenters taking the BLM-inspired knee live on air.

After three black football players were the subject of racist abuse — the majority of which is reported to have come from outside of the UK — following England’s Euro 2020 defeat, the now-former co-host Gutto Harri, also formerly of the BBC and Boris Johnson’s spin-doctor during his time as mayor of London, got down on one knee in the Black Lives Matter-affiliated gesture and said, “I think we should all take the knee”.

Despite having netted more views than its main competitors Sky News and BBC News on its launch last month, the self-described anti-woke news network — which had suffered its share of brief cancel culture after far-left activists pressured advertisers to drop the network — had negligible, or zero, viewers after its core audience appeared to boycott GB News over the knee-taking.

“I won’t be taking the knee for anyone on this show,” Mr Farage had said earlier this month when announcing his new show.

Media trade magazine Press Gazette noted last week that while GB News has just over one-quarter of the audience of the BBC News channel, it was seeing, according to the network, “incredible trajectory” online, which GB News said showed the station was resonating with a younger audience. One-third of its viewers are under 35.

While GB News reached 3.7 million viewers on traditional TV in the first month on air, in the first five weeks of its YouTube channel, it saw 9.9 million video views. On social media, it had 8.6 million Facebook video views, four million impressions on Instagram, and 39.6 million video views on Twitter with 240.7 million tweet impressions (the total number of times a tweet has been seen).

The station’s head of digital and presenter Rebecca Hutson told Press Gazette that GB News is really a “digital media business that has a TV channel attached” — suggesting network heads are pursuing a digital-first, television-second approach to the new station.

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