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T.D. Jakes, the Dallas pastor and film producer who’s no stranger to religious TV audiences, is making a play for the mainstream this summer with a new talk show.
Debmar-Mercury and TEGNA Media announced Thursday plans for a trial run on four TEGNA stations set to run between Aug. 17 and Sept. 11 of this year. The one-hour show will deviate from Jakes’ spiritual programming of the past, instead focusing on “mainstream, headline-driven” content.
“I’m excited for this challenge,” said Jakes. “I have the opportunity to do something new, fresh and exciting by breaking boundaries, talking about everything, enjoying life and having a lot of fun. This show provides a great platform to expand conversations, to be encouraging, positive, uplifting and help people work through tight places in their lives.”
The trial run will air in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Cleveland and Jakes’ native Dallas. It’s being produced by distributor Debmar-Mercury, TEGNA Media, 44 Blue Productions and Jakes’ own TDJ Enterprises. Emmy winners Gail Steinberg and Jack Mori, who respectively worked on The Ricki Lake Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show, will serve as showrunners.
“T.D. Jakes has a fresh and distinctive voice and will make a great daytime talk show host,” said TEGNA Media senior vp programming Bob Sullivan. “A charismatic leader, visionary, provocative thinker and entrepreneur with a strong, established and trusted point of view, he will be able to take on compelling topics in a thought-provoking, uplifting, hopeful and compassionate way, empowering his audience.”
“In order to achieve success in daytime talk, you need to have a unique voice that lets you stand out in a crowded field as well as great built-in brand awareness,” added Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein. “T.D. Jakes has volumes of both, with the strong potential to eventually break out and attract many new national viewers to network affiliates who are hungry for something different.”
Should the test run be a success, Jakes’ program will likely find itself on other TEGNA stations in 2016.
Jakes is also a film producer, with Black Nativity, Heaven Is for Real and the upcoming Miracles From Heaven all on his résumé.
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