TEGNA Media and Debmar-Mercury Partner on Preview of ‘T.D. Jakes’ Talk Show This Summer With 44 Blue Productions, TDJ Enterprises and Enlight Productions
Team offering four weeks of hour-long episodes in afternoon time periods on four TEGNA Media stations
McLEAN, VA, NEW YORK and LOS ANGELES, July 9, 2015 – TEGNA Inc. (NYSE: TGNA) and Debmar-Mercury, a subsidiary of Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), today announced they will offer a preview of a T.D. Jakes-hosted mainstream, headline-driven, one-hour daily daytime talk show across four TEGNA Media stations this summer.
TEGNA Media, the largest independent station group of major network affiliates in the top 25 markets, reaching approximately one-third of all television households nationwide, and leading syndicator Debmar-Mercury will provide T.D. Jakes for four weeks from August 17 – September 11, 2015.
The show, produced by distributor Debmar-Mercury, TEGNA Media, Emmy-nominated 44 Blue Productions (Wahlburgers, daytime syndicated series Family Court with Judge Penny), Jakes’ own TDJ Enterprises and EnLight Productions, will air from 3-4 p.m. on WFAA in Dallas and from 2-3 p.m. on WXIA in Atlanta, KARE in Minneapolis and WKYC in Cleveland.
Two multiple Emmy Award-winning daytime talk producers will serve as showrunners: Gail Steinberg, who was the force behind the original hit The Ricki Lake Show and whose credits also include Geraldo and Montel; and Jack Mori, the senior producer of The Oprah Winfrey Show who worked closely in developing the Dr. Oz talk show, as well as serving as co-executive producer of The Queen Latifah Show.
Jakes, the prominent Dallas pastor, entrepreneur and businessman, whose reach extends far beyond the pulpit of his 30,000-member church and humanitarian organization, The Potter’s House, will use his new platform in daytime talk to serve as a counselor, tackling socially relevant topics in the news with his unique and surprising perspectives. His eponymous talk show will offer personal stories and welcome guests for unexpected and entertaining conversations, including respectful and insightful discussions with those holding opposing viewpoints.
T.D Jakes will also utilize his own TV, radio, social and digital media platforms, as well as TEGNA Media’s large social media footprint, to drive awareness of the show. His millions of followers and new viewers will help generate and inspire content and connect to the show in a deeper, more meaningful way.
“T.D. Jakes has a fresh and distinctive voice and will make a great daytime talk show host,” said Bob Sullivan, senior vice president of programming, TEGNA Media. “A charismatic leader, visionary, provocative thinker and entrepreneur with a strong, established and trusted point of view, he will be able to take on compelling topics in a thought-provoking, uplifting, hopeful and compassionate way, empowering his audience.”
TEGNA Media and Debmar-Mercury formed a 50-50 joint venture to develop, produce, test and distribute first-run series for daytime, early fringe and access dayparts. Television executive and executive producer Stephanie Eno was later named to serve as vice president of development for their projects, working closely with Alexandra Jewett and Lonnie Burstein, executive vice presidents of programming for Debmar-Mercury.
Debmar-Mercury Co-Presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein commented, “In order to achieve success in daytime talk, you need to have a unique voice that lets you stand out in a crowded field as well as great built-in brand awareness. T.D. Jakes has volumes of both, with the strong potential to eventually break out and attract many new national viewers to network affiliates who are hungry for something different.”
Among Jakes’ many recent successes are the box office hit, Heaven is for Real, which has Jennifer Garner starring in the follow-up feature now in production, Miracles from Heaven, and the No. 1 New York Times bestseller, Instinct: The Power to Unleash Your Inborn Drive. His next book, Destiny, is also due in August. Named “America’s Best Preacher” by Time Magazine and CNN, Jakes’ voice reverberates from the world’s most prominent stages. Beyond the pulpit, Jakes is the recipient of numerous humanitarian awards. His worldwide impact is also felt through high-profile conference series, including MegaFest Dallas, which garnered more than 75,000 participants in 2013. He is also the founder the T.D. Jakes School of Leadership.
“I’m excited for this challenge!” said Jakes. “I have the opportunity to do something new, fresh and exciting by breaking boundaries, talking about everything, enjoying life and having a lot of fun. This show provides a great platform to expand conversations, to be encouraging, positive, uplifting and help people work through tight places in their lives.”
The show will be executive produced by 44 Blue’s Emmy-nominated president and co-founder Stephanie Noonan Drachkovitch, Jakes, Derrick Williams (executive vice president, TD Jakes Entertainment) and Adriane Hopper Williams (EnLight).
TEGNA Inc. (NYSE: TGNA), formerly Gannett Co., Inc., is comprised of a dynamic portfolio of media and digital businesses that provide content that matters and brands that deliver. TEGNA reaches more than 90 million Americans and delivers highly relevant, useful and smart content, when and how people need it, to make the best decisions possible. TEGNA Media includes 46 television stations (including those serviced by TEGNA) and is the largest independent station group of major network affiliates in the top 25 markets, reaching approximately one-third of all television households nationwide. TEGNA Digital is comprised of Cars.com, the leading online destination for automotive consumers, CareerBuilder, a global leader in human capital solutions, and other powerful brands such as G/O Digital, Clipper and Sightline Media Group. For more information, visit www.TEGNA.com.
Debmar-Mercury, a leading media company specializing in syndication, network, cable and ancillary markets, produces and distributes The Wendy Williams Show; produces and distributes the Craig Ferguson-hosted Celebrity Name Game (renewed for a second season starting in fall 2015) with co-producer FremantleMedia North America; has U.S. distribution rights to FremantleMedia North America’s Steve Harvey-hosted Family Feud; distributes Tyler Perry sitcoms House of Payne and spinoff Meet the Browns, as well as Revolution/CubeVision’s Are We There Yet? (starring Ice Cube); and, for FX, sitcoms including Lionsgate Television’s Anger Management (starring Charlie Sheen and now also airing in national off-network syndication); and has U.S. TV distribution rights to Tosh.0, South Park, Hell’s Kitchen and a movie library featuring titles from Revolution Studios. Debmar-Mercury is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), a leading global entertainment company.
About 44 Blue Productions
44 Blue Productions is an award-winning producer of non-fiction and unscripted programming, whose series have aired on more than a dozen domestic television networks and in more than 120 countries worldwide. Founded by Rasha and Stephanie Noonan Drachkovitch, 44 Blue’s impressive slate of groundbreaking series includes A&E’s Emmy® nominated series Wahlburgers, as well as A&E’s top-rated new series Donnie Loves Jenny and Nightwatch; MSNBC’S critically acclaimed Lockup and its spinoff series Lockup: Raw, Lockup: World Tour and Life After Lockup; Animal Planet’s Pit Bulls & Parolees; BET/Centric’s upcoming According to Alex, Style’s Emmy® nominated Split Ends, Spike’s Deadliest Warrior and OWN’s Gracie Award winning Married to the Army: Alaska. 44 Blue’s current slate includes projects with high-profile talent including Mark Wahlberg, Donnie Wahlberg, Dick Wolf, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jennifer Garner, Whoopi Goldberg and others. 44 Blue is represented by the William Morris Endeavor Agency.
About EnLight Productions
Adriane Hopper Williams is the co-owner and Executive Producer of EnLight Productions. Hopper Williams is an Emmy Award-winning producer and has worked closely with 44 Blue Productions as showrunner for five television series including the Emmy-nominated PBS talk show, A Place of Our Own/Los Ninos En Su Casa, First Week In for Discovery and the award- winning series, Married to the Army Alaska and Breaking Down the Bars for OWN.
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