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Dr. Phil launching new cable network Merit Street Media

The channel will offer a daily newscast as well as a prime-time reboot of Dr. Phil's well-known talk show.

The channel will offer a daily newscast as well as a prime-time reboot of Dr. Phil's well-known talk show.

Talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw is wading into the world of cable networks.

This week, McGraw announced the forthcoming launch of a new cable television network called Merit Street Media, which will become the home of a prime-time version of McGraw’s self-titled talk show host debuting in February.

McGraw said the cable channel was needed now more than ever because “American families and our core values are under attack.”

“I love this country, and I believe family is the backbone of our society,” McGraw said in a statement. “Together we are going to stand strong and fight for the very soul and sanity of America and get things that matter back on track.”

The logo of Merit Street Media. (Courtesy image)
The logo of Merit Street Media. (Courtesy image)

Merit Street Media promises to bring viewers “essential news and entertainment,” including a daily newscast that “will bring fact-based truth and transparency.” To that end, Merit Street Media has hired Joel Cheatwood, a former audience development director at the Fox News Channel and CNN, to serve as its chief operating officer. Cheatwood held a similar position at right-of-center news outlet The Blaze from 2011 to 2014.

McGraw said viewers will ultimately dictate what shows are offered on Merit Street Media. The channel will be based out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where McGraw produced his syndicated talk show for more than two decades.

Earlier this year, McGraw said he was ending his syndicated show — which was distributed by CBS Media Ventures — and would focus on a new venture. At the time, McGraw affirmed he was focusing on prime-time programming and would “announce a strategic prime-time partnership” to launch in the first quarter of 2024.

That now appears to be Merit Street Media, which is launching on cable and satellite at a time when customers are increasingly ditching pay TV for cheaper streaming options. No cable or satellite partners have been announced as of Tuesday, and it wasn’t clear from the announcement if the channel would be available on streaming services, either.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).