Dr. Phil Will Team With Trinity Broadcasting To Launch New TV Network

Dr. Phil Will Team With Trinity Broadcasting To Launch New TV Network

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Even a personality as well-known as Dr. Phil McGraw needs a little faith to get by when it comes to launching a new TV venture.

The daytime-TV legend, who announced a month ago that he planned to debut a TV network with a new primetime show that he would lead, is teaming up with Trinity Broadcasting Network, a large religious broadcaster that is a significant owner of TV stations. McGraw’s company, Merit Street Media, expects to distribute its new lineup of programming via cable, satellite and broadcast stations, and has secured “commitments already exceeding 65 million television homes,” the company said in a statement Wednesday. Trinity’s programming is available on satellite distributors such as DirecTV and Dish; YouTube TV; cable systems owned by Charter and Altice, among others; and even YouTube TV.

While Trinity, founded in 1973 by minister Paul Crouch, offers programs such as “Turning Point With Dr. David Jeremiah” and “The Watchman With Erick Stakelbeck,” McGraw’s new outlet will not offer any sort of faith-based messaging or programming. Organizers expect the new network to be anchored by “Dr. Phil Primetime” and said it “will feature four hours of original prime time content, including a live prime news hour.”

“We are thrilled to embark on this groundbreaking journey by creating a network that is not only widely accessible but also a hub for diverse, engaging content,” said Joel Cheatwood, COO, Merit Street Media, in a statement. “With our commitment to delivering high-quality programming across multiple platforms, we anticipate Merit Street will be a trailblazer among networks.” Cheatwood is a longtime TV executive who has worked for CBS, CNN and Fox News Channel who had a hand in the success of personalities such as Glenn Beck.

Merit Street also intends to distribute the network via various free advertiser-supported television, or FAST, channels. Debut of the network is poised for after February 26, 2024, with organizers planning to make Merit Street content available not just via TV, but through subscription-based and ad-supported streaming; via podcasts; and across digital and social media channels. The idea it to create a venue with a national audience that will be appealing to advertisers.

McGraw is the latest TV personality to try and build an entire media outlet around their particular vision. Such a feat would be almost impossible in decades past, when media companies had to offer programming that appealed to the broadest audiences possible. In the current era, however, in which consumers are often on the lookout for media that appeals to their hobbies, interests and even political beliefs, the feat is not so difficult.

McGraw’s advantage, of course, stems from his years as a popular daytime host. In some ways, he is following a path set by Oprah Winfrey, whose own company backed McGraw’s entry into TV. She launched OWN, a cable network initially backed by her Harpo Productions and the company formerly known as Discovery Communications. Today, Warner Bros. Discovery operates OWN and recently launched a similar venture known as Magnolia and built around the home-renovation personalities Chip and Joanna Gaines.

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