James Edward O'Brien (born 13 January 1972) is a British journalist, television and radio presenter who is one of the presenters on talk station LBC, presenting on weekdays between 10am and 1pm, hosting a phone-in discussion of current affairs and news, views and real-life experiences.
O'Brien was educated at the independent Ampleforth College and the London School of Economics. Politically, O'Brien has been described as "coming from the left" and sometimes describes himself as a "champagne socialist" in jest.
Prior to his broadcasting career, O'Brien was an editor of the Daily Express gossip column written under the pseudonym William Hickey, and has had work published in Cosmopolitan and The Spectator. In 2015, he published a book on attitudes about immigration, Loathe Thy Neighbour.
From 2000-2002, O'Brien was a panellist on the Channel 5 programme The Wright Stuff.
In early 2001, O'Brien presented A Knight with O'Brien, a talk show on Anglia Television.
With his wife, Lucy (McDonald) O'Brien, he fronted Channel 5's 2001 general election talk show 5 Talk, securing a review from Clive James, who wrote: "James, in particular, is a pink-shirted walking encyclopedia of political savvy". O'Brien and wife Lucy have occasional weekend and Bank Holiday phone-ins for LBC. Other regular appearances include: Sky News, The Big Questions (BBC One), and The Alan Titchmarsh Show (ITV).
O'Brien was a guest presenter on the BBC Two programme Newsnight on 6 and 7 August 2014. He is now a frequent guest presenter on the show.
O'Brien first appeared on LBC during 2002 as a holiday cover presenter. His own weekly programme began in January 2003 and he became a full-time presenter in 2004. Regular features of his show include the "Mystery Hour", in which listeners phone in with various things that puzzle them and other callers attempt to give a solution.
O'Brien made national headlines in April 2009 when footballer Frank Lampard phoned his show to object strenuously to tabloid stories about his private life and O'Brien's discussion of them. Lampard's former fiancée, Elen Rivas, had alleged that Frank Lampard had turned their home into a bachelor pad while she and Lampard's children were living in a rented flat. Lampard phoned in, objecting to the assertion that he was "weak" and "scum" and said that he had fought "tooth and nail" to keep his family together. Public comments on Lampard's reaction praised Lampard's "brave" and "articulate" handling of the situation. The exchange later earned O'Brien, who defended his conduct in an equally heated exchange with Kay Burley on Sky News, a Bronze Award in the Best Interview category of the 2010 Sony Radio Academy Awards.
In 2015, O'Brien presented his own ITV chat show called O'Brien which aired for ten episodes in a daytime slot before it was cancelled.
O'Brien is of Irish ancestry.