American talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw has teamed up with the Trinity Broadcasting Network to launch his own TV network, which he says will “stand strong” in America’s core values.
McGraw, who announced earlier this year that he was ending his daytime talk show, “Dr. Phil” after 21 seasons, recently took to X to share the news of his new Merit Street Media. According to Variety, the network is a new partnership with the faith-based giant TBN.
The company is based in Fort Worth, Texas, is set to launch in February of 2024 and promises to deliver “essential news and entertainment.”
“I’m coming back in primetime on a whole new network that’s called Merit Street Media,” Dr. Phil said in a video announcement last month.
“It’s my new network, but I’ve got some news that I want to share with you about that. This is actually not my network. This is our network. This is something that’s going to be focused entirely on what’s important to you. What you want to talk about, what you want to do, and Dr. Phil is going to be on in primetime.”
In his final years of daytime talk, McGraw revealed some of his conservative views on family values, immigration and education curriculum on his show. His network will most likely follow suit.
“American families and our core values are under attack,” he said in a statement.
“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.”
Variety reports that the daytime TV legend teamed up with the well-known religious broadcaster for his network because of its experience in successfully owning over 30 TV stations. TBN will help Merit Street distribute its programming while also promoting free, ad-supported streaming channels.
Merit Street Media will not be a religious network nor feature any of TBN’s staple Christian programming.
The network will be anchored by “Dr. Phil Primtetime,” which will premiere on Feb. 26, 2024, and air nightly at 8 p.m.
“We are thrilled to embark on this groundbreaking journey by creating a network that is not only widely accessible but also a hub for diverse, engaging content,” Merit Street Media COO Joel Cheatwood said in a statement. “With our commitment to delivering high-quality programming across multiple platforms, we anticipate Merit Street will be a trailblazer among networks.”
Merit Street Media will be available through cable, satellite and broadcast stations. The network says it has already secured “commitments already exceeding 65 million television homes.”
McGraw assured that his network would be led by the people dictating the content.
“The audience will dictate our content because they are our content, and I want my viewer’s help in building Merit Street,” he told PEOPLE. “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.”
Though McGraw promises the network will stand strong for American “core values,” it’s unclear what those “values” are.
TBN has often aired content on valuing and protecting human life from the womb. But in 2022, McGraw did a show in which he defended abortion and claimed that there is no consensus that life begins at conception. The syndicated talk show featured prominent pro-life activist Lila Rose, who debated with McGraw about when life begins. Rose told McGraw such a claim “is simply inaccurate.”
The episode’s focus on abortion came in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide.
McGraw argued that the “body of scientific literature” indicates varying degrees of development, marking when life begins. He stated that some neuroscientists believe it starts once brain waves become detectable.