Emmy-winning television host and producer Dr. Phil McGraw is launching a new cable TV network that will reportedly be based in the AllianceTexas area of north Fort Worth and feature McGraw appearing before a prime-time audience.
Known as “Dr. Phil” on his long-running daytime show, McGraw has announced the launch of Merit Street Media, a new channel that he said is dedicated to bringing viewers essential news and entertainment.
In March, after 21 seasons, McGraw announced the end of his daytime platform “Dr. Phil.” Merit Street Media will be anchored by “Dr. Phil Primetime,” set to premiere on Feb. 26 and airing nightly at 7 p.m. Central thereafter.
“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,” McGraw, who previously lived and worked in Dallas, said in a statement. “American families and our core values are under attack. I love this country, and I believe family is the backbone of our society. Together we’re going to stand strong and fight for the very soul and sanity of America and get things that matter back on track.”
McGraw said he receives thousands of requests from viewers seeking advice.
“As always, the audience will dictate our content because they are our content, and I want my viewer’s help in building Merit Street. I continue my pledge to help individuals, couples, and families have the tough conversations, face the hard realities, and get real answers for the most positive and effective outcome.”
Tackling hot button issues
Merit Street Media is said to be named for McGraw’s respect for the meritocracy on which America was built.
The network said that a new “state-of-the-art” broadcast center spanning over 5 acres “in the heart of Dallas-Fort Worth” is completing construction.
Dozens of longtime “Dr. Phil” staffers have made the transition and relocated their families to Texas for the project, the network said.
Merit Street Media said it will announce its full primetime lineup in the coming months. Initially it expects to offer multiple hours of original daily programming, including live news broadcasts that will bring “fact-based truth and transparency.”
The network said that “Dr. Phil Primetime” will follow the TV personality’s well-known format.
McGraw, a graduate of the University of North Texas, will offer “no-nonsense advice” to guests and viewers, “tackling tough issues facing real people in the real world today.” That includes topics from raising a family “in a world that seemingly has gone mad,” to children being corrupted by toxic social media platforms, to an epidemic of prescription drug addiction and “out-of-control immigration,” to dealing with an education curriculum that for many is failing and for some “feels more like indoctrination,” the network said in a statement.
“It all begins and ends with real people dealing with these issues for real, using common sense, fact-based information, and action plans to create results,” said McGraw, who will also continue to interview headline newsmakers.
If you want to be in the audience for an upcoming show, you can sign up on McGraw’s website. The network said that shows will begin taping in December.
Veteran news and programming executive Joel Cheatwood, known for his work at WCBS, CNN, and Fox News, will be chief operating officer of Merit Street Media. The network said that announcements on network executives, show producers, cable providers, and additional programming will come over the next few months.
From the courtroom to media mogul
Before finding fame on TV, McGraw founded Courtroom Sciences Inc., a trial science firm bringing his psychological expertise, including both forensic and clinical specialties, to the litigation arena.
His work there inspired the hit CBS primetime series, “Bull,” which ran for six seasons with McGraw as executive producer, co-creator, and writer.
The mother-son legal drama, “So Help Me Todd,” with McGraw as executive producer, debuted on CBS in fall 2022. He also hosts two chart-topping podcasts, “Phil In The Blanks” and “Mystery & Murder: Analysis by Dr. Phil.”
McGraw has written 10 New York Times best-selling books.
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