Tegna Says T.D. Jakes Talk Show Is A Go

The broadcast group will air the new syndicated talker on its 29 stations and has taken over distribution from Debmar-Mercury.

A new syndicated talk show starring Dallas pastor T.D. Jakes has been cleared by 29 Tegna Media stations, with Tegna (formerly Gannett) taking over sole ownership of the show — including distribution, Tegna announced today.

The company’s decision to distribute the show means the syndicator formerly associated with the Jakes show, Debmar-Mercury, is out.

In a statement issued shortly after Tegna made its own announcement Wednesday morning, Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein seemed to imply they have no faith in Tegna’s ability to turn a Jakes show into a truly “national” show.

“T.D. Jakes is a unique daytime talent and we have loved working with him,” the two said in the prepared statement. “We are disappointed there isn’t a fall 2016 national launch opportunity available for this show. We wish Tegna and Bishop Jakes much success and hope we have the opportunity to work together again in the future.”

Their statement gave no reason for their withdrawal from the show.

For its part, Tegna says it intends to achieve national distribution for the show, titled T.D. Jakes, for a fall 2016 launch. In its news release, Tegna described its strategy to produce and syndicate the show itself as “a move designed to create more original programming.”


Tegna has been a producer of this proposed Jakes talk show since its inception, including the spec shows that aired last summer in a four-week test on Tegna stations in Dallas, Minneapolis, Atlanta and Cleveland. Tegna’s partners in the production end of T.D. Jakes will continue to be 44 Blue Productions, EnLight Productions and Jakes’ own production company, TDJ Enterprises.

“During the show’s test run this summer, Jakes’ audience grew each week in every market,” said Tegna Media President Dave Lougee in a prepared statement. “Once viewers found him, they liked him and we look forward to introducing him to a wider audience next fall.”

Instead of Debmar-Mercury, Tegna has contracted with veteran syndication executive Scott Carlin to handle distribution of T.D. Jakes on Tegna’s behalf, working with Bob Sullivan, Tegna SVP of programming. Carlin is a past president of HBO Domestic Television Distribution and a past EVP for Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.

Tegna says “upwards of 20” of its stations will launch “Jakes” in an afternoon time period. “Additional Tegna Media stations will air the show as timeslots clear,” Tegna said. The launch markets include Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis and Seattle.

Comments (2)

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Michael Castengera says:

December 9, 2015 at 5:02 pm

Meh. The McGraws/CBS tried syndicating him years ago.

Keith ONeal says:

December 9, 2015 at 11:09 pm


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