Two of the BBC’s leading journalists, Jon Sopel and Emily Maitlis, are leaving the public broadcaster to join LBC and its owner Global.
The corporation’s North America editor and Newsnight presenter will front a major new podcast for the Global Player as well as hosting a show together on LBC and providing expert comment and analysis for the radio station’s website.
The duo will also be joined by Dino Sofos, the founder of audio production company Persephonica, and the former head of the BBC’s news podcasts. He helped develop Brexitcast, Newscast and Americast, the latter of which is currently presented by Sopel and Maitlis.
The details of Maitlis and Sopel’s new daily podcast will be announced later in the year.
The move follows LBC’s signing of former BBC presenter Andrew Marr, whose new LBC show is set to be announced soon. Marr has also taken on a job as the new political editor of The New Statesman.
In 2018, Radio 4 PM presenter Eddie Mair joined LBC to host the station’s drivetime show in the same time slot.
Maitlis said: “We are just so delighted to be launching this brand new podcast – which will build on everything we’ve achieved with Americast over the last few years – and it will find new audiences and a new home with Global. I couldn’t be more excited.”
Maitlis first joined the BBC more than 20 years ago in 2001, when she moved from Sky News where she was a business correspondent to become a presenter for BBC London News. She went on to join Newsnight in 2006.
One of her most famous interviews on the programme came when she spoke to Prince Andrew in November 2019 to discuss his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffery Epstein.
The interview saw her win Interviewer of the Year at the British Journalism Awards 2020 and the Network Presenter of the Year award at the RTS Television Journalism Awards.
The 51-year-old said on Twitter that the move would be a “wrench” after working at the broadcaster for so long. She said she was “grateful for the opportunities I’ve had there” and those she had worked with, adding: “I owe my BBC colleagues everything.”
In 2020 Maitlis was rebuked by the BBC for an alleged breach of impartiality rules when she said on Newsnight: “Dominic Cummings broke the rules. The country can see that, and it’s shocked the government cannot.”
She told Press Gazette in 2021 that she did not regret the incident: “It hasn’t ever been explained to me what was journalistically inaccurate about that.”
Sopel first started working for the BBC in 1983 when he joined BBC Radio Solent as a reporter and producer. He then spent almost 40 years working solely for the BBC, including as a presenter on the Politics Show and most recently as North America editor.
Sopel left the role in October saying he was taking a break from work to write a book.
Speaking to Press Gazette in 2021 he said: “If my career ends in Washington – and I have been in the BBC for 38 years now, which is quite a long time – that wouldn’t be a bad way to go out.”
He said: “I’m delighted to be joining Global with my great friend and colleague, Emily Maitlis. We’ve been blown away by the reception for Americast, and are so excited that Global has given us the opportunity to build on this success by creating this innovative news podcast. This is an unmissable opportunity.”
Ashley Tabor-King OBE, founder and executive president of Global, said: “Emily and Jon are world-class broadcasters and journalists, and it’s an incredibly exciting time to be welcoming them to the Global family. LBC has seen record-breaking growth, there’s tremendous appetite for visualised shows on Global Player, and original journalism by our teams on lbc.co.uk is in millions of news feeds every month.”