Sky News’ ambitious plan to launch a new global rolling news channel in conjunction with the US network NBC has been abandoned, leaving behind dozens of recently hired journalists and a half-built TV studio in London, reports The Guardian.
The channel was being led by Deborah Turness, the former ITV News editor who moved to New York to run NBC News between 2013 and 2017. Leading reporters from rival outlets, such as Matthew Price of the BBC, were hired across with the promise of building a new station from scratch, complete with its own network of foreign bureaux, only for the project to be “paused” in early April when the pandemic made a launch impossible.
It was to be one of the first transatlantic joint ventures between NBC and Sky, which have both been owned by the US media business Comcast since Rupert Murdoch sold his British television business in 2018.
Although the pandemic and the economic downturn are likely to be blamed for the channel’s failure, employees at the station suggested that the departure in May of the long-term NBC News boss Andy Lack – who had long planned an international TV station to rival CNN – played a key role. He had been a driving force behind the channel’s creation at NBC’s 30 Rock headquarters in New York.