After flirting with the launch of a daytime TV talk show for years, pastor T.D. Jakes is taking the plunge with Tegna Media on a syndicated series targeted for a fall 2016 debut.
Tegna Media, an arm of station group Tegna (formerly known as Gannett Broadcasting), will distribute the show and carry it in more than 20 top markets, including Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas and Denver. The show had a test run in several Tegna markets that was successful enough to convince the partners to roll the dice on a national rollout.
“With Jakes at the helm, this program has an opportunity to attract blue-chip advertisers, generate large audiences and empower viewers across the country,” said Dave Lougee, president of Tegna Media. “During the show’s test run this summer, Jakes’ audience grew each week in every market. Once viewers found him, they liked him and we look forward to introducing him to a wider audience next fall.”
Tegna has tapped syndie biz veteran Scott Carlin to oversee the sales effort outside of Tegna markets. The show will need to land strong clearances in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other big markets to be successful in the highly fractured daytime TV arena that has been brutal to syndicated newcomers in recent years.
Jakes already has a strong media presence through his Dallas-based church, the Potter’s House, and range of business ventures that include more than 40 books. His church counts 30,000 members and some 5 million social media followers.
Jakes has been pursued on and off for years by distributors for a daytime talk show. The goal is to deliver a show that will “engage a broader audience with relevant and uplifting content (that) is consistent with my years of experience at the intersections of the faith-based, entertainment and business worlds,” Jakes said. “This is an unprecedented opportunity to bring a new voice to a familiar platform.”
“T.D. Jakes” hails from 44 Blue Productions, TDJ Enterprises and EnLight Productions. Jakes, 44 Blue’s Stephanie Noonan Drachkovitch, TDJ’s Derrick M. Williams and EnLight’s Adriane Hopper Williams are exec producers.