Andrew Neil, 72, spearheaded the creation of GB News, having left his role at the BBC to become the chairman of the new network, advocating itself as a voice for those who don’t have one on a national stage. In June, the broadcaster explained to viewers of his self-titled prime-time show he was going to be leaving the channel for a break and would return by the end of the summer. With the deadline for his hiatus swiftly approaching, there is now great concern he could be about to quit his role and make an exit.
Former Sky News presenter Colin Brazier, 53, has been keeping Andrew’s seat warm after initially joining the network as a host of a morning show.
Instead, the journalist now sits front and centre in the prime-time slot, informing viewers of his take of the political headlines from 8pm to 9pm, Monday to Thursday.
However, Ladbrokes bookmakers are now suggesting Andrew’s replacement could be in the hot seat for some time yet.
According to their latest odds table, a comeback for the political broadcaster is looking unlikely as they have slashed his chances of never returning to 5/2.
Ladbrokes spokesperson Jessica O’Reilly said: “It’s hardly a good sign after just two weeks on air the main man has gone on holiday for two months.”
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“And with rumours of off-air tensions, we’ve been forced to slash the odds Neil doesn’t return to GB News,” she continued.
The reported off-air tensions come from a report by The Telegraph, who spoke to an unnamed source explaining the situation behind the scenes and repeated a number of technical difficulties as the reason behind his exit.
They reportedly told the publication bosses “felt let down” after losing one of their biggest signings within the first two weeks.
“People felt left in the lurch by Andrew’s sudden departure and we couldn’t understand why he was going so soon after the launch.”
Taking to Twitter, viewers have still be left confused by Andrew’s absence and have offered their take on whether he will return.
One posted on the social media platform: “It’s pretty obvious Andrew Neil won’t be returning. The actual owner wants to create a UK Fox News-like channel. It’ll just become another small right-wing obscurity.”
Another wrote: “I do too, but maybe part-time, he’s 72 and worked hard for years and to bring us GB News. @colinbrazierGBN is hugely impressive, all those years wasted at Sky, he’s brilliant. If @afneil does a couple of shows a month, I’d be happy. I hope it’s working financially, I’d hate to lose it.”
“@GBNEWS I am hoping that the rumours about Andrew Neil leaving GB News are false. I was looking forward to him taking on Nicola Sturgeon again,” a third shared.
When the channel first launched in June, several technical difficulties meant they faced a backlash from viewers.
However, since his departure, Andrew has taken to Twitter to express his positivity about the future of the network.
The political broadcaster wrote: “Watch this space. Start-ups are fraught and fractious. GB News is no exception.
“But the news channel is finding its feet and has a great future,” he added so viewers now wait to hear of his official future with the channel.
GB News broadcasts daily on Freeview 236, Sky HD 515, Virgin Media HD 626, YouView 236 and Freesat HD 216.