Reality TV News
Phil McGraw launches new TV show and cable network in Dallas-Fort Worth
Dr. Phil McGraw, the TV personality made famous by Oprah Winfrey, is launching a news and entertainment cable TV network right here in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Called Merit Media, it will be anchored by a new show called Dr. Phil Primetime, which will premiere on February 26, 2024 and air every night at 7 pm.
McGraw, who is no stranger to DFW having earned his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of North Texas in 1979, had a syndicated daytime talk show for 21 years which aired its final episode on May 25, 2023.
That followed a layoff in 2022 as they were going into their 21st and final season, in which 25 staffers were let go in a cost-cutting move.
The show also drew controversy in February 2022 when former employees claimed it was a toxic workplace with verbal abuse, fear, intimidation, and racism behind the scenes, as well promoting racist stereotypes on the show and accusations that vulnerable guests were being manipulated.
According to People magazine, McGraw's goal is to shift from daytime to primetime. However, there are no details about the new network’s distribution.
McGraw said in a statement that the format of the new show will be same.
"As always, the audience will dictate our content because they are our content, and I want my viewers' help in building Merit Street," McGraw said. "I absolutely love talking to real people about real problems. People who aren't just complaining but are actively looking for real solutions to better their lives.”
It'll be filmed in front of a live audience, taping two episodes per day on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, beginning December 11. They're currently accepting applicants at www.drphil.com/be-in-the-audience.
A new broadcast center spanning over 5 acres, rumored to be in the Alliance area off I-35W in far north Fort Worth, is currently completing construction. Dozens of longtime Dr. Phil staffers have relocated from California to Texas to work at the new facility.
The network's lineup will include "essential news and entertainment delivering common sense television you can use," featuring "a diverse and respected group of household names."
They'll announce who and what in the coming months, with multiple hours of original daily programming, including live news broadcasts "that will bring fact-based truth and transparency." Um OK.
CEO will be Joel Cheatwood, who has worked at WCBS, CNN, and Fox News.