Jump to content

Merit Street (Dr. Phil Cable Network) to launch in February


mrschimpf

Recommended Posts

No, that's not a mistype. Dr. Phil plans to launch a new cable network by February which will feature him in primetime from a new base in the DFW Metroplex and former staffers with the talk show have also moved out there. And yes, he plans a news operation of some kind led by Joel Cheatwood, so make of that what you will.

 

All I can say is it would probably be easier to lease time on OWN or another existing cable channel than launching a new one during the decline of the format, but apparently I'm not mainlining Dr. Phil's out-of-date gut here.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did some digging, their website Whois info points to Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and their press release and trademark applications also mentions "Ft. Worth, TX" as building a new "state of the art" facility there, well guess what TBN has been doing since 2021, building a state of the art facility in Ft. Worth that's scheduled for completion by Jan 2024, exactly one month before the new Dr. Phil Primetime show is announced to premiere.

It's 100% replacing TBN.

  • Thought-Provoking 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, bgiesing said:

Did some digging, their website Whois info points to Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and their press release and trademark applications also mentions "Ft. Worth, TX" as building a new "state of the art" facility there, well guess what TBN has been doing since 2021, building a state of the art facility in Ft. Worth that's scheduled for completion by Jan 2024, exactly one month before the new Dr. Phil Primetime show is announced to premiere.

It's 100% replacing TBN.

“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 said. “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 are going to stand strong and fight for the very soul and sanity of America and get things that matter back on track.”

 

This Dr. Phil quote from the announcement feels kinda TBN-ish in tone, now that I think about it 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It feels like a TBN Inspire replacement because of all the damage that occurred from the Hillsong deal; they put all this money into a new studio, intending it to be their new main programming base, and their partner just implodes...and now you've got someone who is looking for their next act to partner with in the Christan equivalent of Los Angeles production-wise.

 

I would be shocked, but not surprised, if it does replace TBN proper though. Despite their stations mainly being non-com licenses they haven't seemed to have an issue with promoting things at all, and eventually they'll be rid of their stations and able to get more commercial plugs in. Having a name to take over the concept will also help them comply with carriage agreements.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

44 minutes ago, mrschimpf said:

It feels like a TBN Inspire replacement because of all the damage that occurred from the Hillsong deal; they put all this money into a new studio, intending it to be their new main programming base, and their partner just implodes...and now you've got someone who is looking for their next act to partner with in the Christan equivalent of Los Angeles production-wise.

 

I would be shocked, but not surprised, if it does replace TBN proper though. Despite their stations mainly being non-com licenses they haven't seemed to have an issue with promoting things at all, and eventually they'll be rid of their stations and able to get more commercial plugs in. Having a name to take over the concept will also help them comply with carriage agreements.

I’d buy that it could be a TBN Inspire replacement over the idea of Merit being a replacement for the main network. In the past decade, TBN has:

* launched TBN Salsa (a bilingual network aimed at Latinos, otherwise redundant in target audience with the Spanish-language Enlace USA), only to drop it three years later;

* combined the OTA schedules of JUCE TV and Smile (a la Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite and Cartoon Network/Adult Swim) into one subchannel to make room for Salsa, only to restore their separate 24-hour feeds after Salsa disappeared;

* turned JUCE into an online-only channel, and launched Positiv (which carries both faith-based and secular family movies, including some mainstream theatrical films) to fill JUCE’s former linear channel space;

* and relaunched The Church Channel as Hillsong Channel and then Inspire (after the Hillsong scandals came to light).

 

But the fact that it’s being advertised as a cable network (in the cord-cutting era), suggests otherwise. We’d need more details to confirm, especially as Merit being a replacement for a TBN network would require a channel-lease deal. (TBN has owned all of its networks, including Inspire during its existence as Hillsong Channel, which was at that time a co-venture with Hillsong Church.)

  • Like 1
  • Confused 1
  • Thought-Provoking 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I kind of wonder if it'd be a good idea to rebrand the main TBN? The TBN branding has been big in Christian media for years now. It seems like Phil's channel would be better for TBN Inspire.

 

I personally don't see Phil's channel being a big success being on cable, although I believe both TBN channels are on Pluto TV.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/8/2023 at 6:34 PM, Newsjunkie24 said:

I kind of wonder if it'd be a good idea to rebrand the main TBN? The TBN branding has been big in Christian media for years now. It seems like Phil's channel would be better for TBN Inspire.

 

I personally don't see Phil's channel being a big success being on cable, although I believe both TBN channels are on Pluto TV.

I mean if the idea is "make the channel appeal to the average consumer including non-Christians, dropping the name would be the correct move. This sounds like it will still have some more faith-based views but otherwise a more general-purpose network that would be wider appealing, could be a way for TBN to essentially push their views onto people in a less obvious manner.

  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/26/2023 at 12:39 PM, Yankees4life said:

What a waste of space. As if the world needs MORE cable channels...and more cable channels to not watch and be forced to pay for...

 

The fact that it's launching as a cable channel says a lot about who the target audience is:  older people who are more likely to still have cable TV.

 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, mre29 said:

 

The fact that it's launching as a cable channel says a lot about who the target audience is:  older people who are more likely to still have cable TV.

 

I’m not fully convinced it’ll be a fully cable/satellite-exclusive network. TBN’s various networks—Inspire, Smile, Enlace USA and Positiv—are available on its OTA stations (they are pay-TV-exclusive in markets where TBN doesn’t own or have an affiliation with an OTA station), so there’s a decent probability that Merit Street ends up getting a subchannel slot on its O&Os, either as a new subchannel or as a replacement for TBN Inspire or Positiv. Merit Street does plan to offer FAST channels, whether that includes the main network is the question.

Edited by T.L. Hughes
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/6/2023 at 4:03 PM, T.L. Hughes said:

I’m not fully convinced it’ll be a fully cable/satellite-exclusive network. TBN’s various networks—Inspire, Smile, Enlace USA and Positiv—are available on its OTA stations (they are pay-TV-exclusive in markets where TBN doesn’t own or have an affiliation with an OTA station), so there’s a decent probability that Merit Street ends up getting a subchannel slot on its O&Os, either as a new subchannel or as a replacement for TBN Inspire or Positiv. Merit Street does plan to offer FAST channels, whether that includes the main network is the question.

 

My mistake. I really should have written "linear channel" instead of "cable channel".

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, mre29 said:

 

Linear includes both broadcast and cable. Also, how does FAST compare to a single-serving site?

 

 

Exactly. Well, as you know in technology, acronyms have multiple meanings. Subscription Streaming Service in this context. FAST is Free Ad-supported Streaming Television.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

As I figured, TBN will carry Merit Street over-the-air on its O&Os. Having passed through KTBO while channel surfing, TBN has already begun running a promo feed on its DT2 subchannels ahead of the Merit Street network's launch, which is now scheduled for February 26.

 

But it won't be a replacement for TBN Inspire, outside of channel placement. Instead, to make room, Inspire and Smile were each moved one subchannel ahead (Inspire from DT2 to DT3, and Smile from DT3 to DT4), while Enlace has been dropped entirely and relegated exclusively to the TBN Plus streaming platform. (This would leave Daystar as the only English-language religious network that offers an over-the-air Spanish-language service, assuming other 3ABN stations removed 3ABN Latino and its sister networks a couple of years ago like KUOT-LD did in my market.)

IMG_0041.thumb.png.76717ae859b78178300e5bdf55fb8975.png

Edited by T.L. Hughes
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quick minor correction that Enlace is cable/pay distributed so it's unlikely they'll lose any carriage based on that. However, Spectrum did dump most of the TBN suite several years back outside Original Recipe TBN and Enlace, so they'd need to restore that coverage. Even the channel finder they have outside the main TBN stations and must-carry coverage, is just a whole lot of 'request it' links to a boilerplate form. There are also some low-powers which carry Enlace as a .1 without any English services, so they haven't lost all of their OTA coverage.

 

But with two weeks to go until launch, not a great sign regarding network carriage.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Comcast no longer carries KPJR-TV here in Denver (Greeley) on it's systems, according to the Channel finder.  In northeast Colorado it is over the air only on 38.2, I have never been able to receive 38.1 or 38.2 where I live in Denver County, there transmitter is 38.8 miles northeast of me.   I don't see Dr. Phil's cable network surviving, tbh...

Edited by DENDude
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using TVNewsTalk you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.