News UK confirms launch of Fox News-style TV channel

Reports suggest that the fledgling channel has already been granted an Ofcom license and will launch on Freeview

Rupert Murdoch’s news empire is on the cusp of launching a new television channel in the UK, inspired by the success of Fox News across the pond.

Details remain thin, but a job ad for a series producer published briefly by News UK let slip plans for 'a new TV station, which will run through primetime evening hours and comprise of three key programmes'.

The job post also references a ’daily factual entertainment show’ that will straddle traditional TV and online content, with an emphasis on comedy.

What will the unnamed channel look like?

  • Restricted to prime-time hours, the satirical-style show will not compete directly with Sky News but instead deliver something akin to the BBC’s Have I Got News For You or The Mash Report.

  • Content will be split across three daily TV programmes geared toward British audiences, with accompanying online content.

  • This format has served Murdoch well in America where Fox News has become a ratings hit on the back of heavily opinionated, talking head commentaries.

  • Subject to media regulator Ofcom’s broadcasting standards code on ’due impartiality’, the station will be obliged to air a variety of points of view.

Why is this important?

  • The venture would mark continued expansion by News UK, which bought radio stations talkSport, talkRadio and Virgin Radio in 2016 and recently launched Times Radio.

  • The company has already invested heavily in its central London headquarters with the creation of a recording studio, currently being used to create online content.

  • NewsUK’s intervention follows concerns raised by BBC director general Tim Davie over alleged left-wing bias in the broadcaster’s comedy output, which has been attributed to an absence of right-wing comedians.

  • Reports in the Guardian suggest that the fledgling channel has already been granted an Ofcom license and will launch on Freeview.

  • The focus on traditional broadcasts will hand the channel an immediate audience of mostly older viewers, but does carry additional costs of up to £10m.

  • The high-risk strategy will require heavy investment from Murdoch to get off the ground and become established.

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