Bishop T.D. Jakes speaks during the commencement ceremony of Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative at The Potter's House in Dallas on March 30, 2014. 

Bishop T.D. Jakes speaks during the commencement ceremony of Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative at The Potter's House in Dallas on March 30, 2014. 

Kye R. Lee/Staff Photographer

It means the world to Bishop T.D. Jakes that Dallas is one of four cities in which his new talk show will get a four-week trial run.

"Dallas is my home," says the larger-than-life leader of the Potter's House, a nondenominational church that's 30,000 members strong. "My family is here, my church is here, my friends are here.

"I love that Dallas will be able to see what one of its homeboys is doing on a national level."

The debut episode of The T.D. Jakes Show airs at 3 p.m. Monday on WFAA-TV (Channel 8). Other markets carrying the show are Atlanta, Minneapolis and Cleveland.

Jakes says he aims to give viewers the kind of discussion show "that mainstream America is hungry for" but rarely gets in daytime anymore.

The goal is to have content and a tone reminiscent of the Oprah and Dr. Phil shows.

It's worth noting that Jakes was a familiar face on both of those programs over the years. "I learned a lot from them, just from observing them as they worked," he says.

The first-week highlight is Thursday's episode, which addresses racial unrest in America and brings in a panel that includes the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Sandra Bland.

"There has been a lot of coverage in the press about what happened, but not much about the impact these tragedies had on the victims' loved ones," Jakes says. "We drill beyond the activism, down to who they are as individuals."

Jakes talked last week by phone from New York, where he is filming the show.

What made you want to do this kind of show?

They kind of had to talk me into it. It took awhile to convince me, because I had so many things already on my plate. But the reason I said yes was I think there has been a steep decline of positive content on daytime television.

Why do you think many daytime shows seem to have shifted the focus to celebrity guests and lightweight topics?

I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer that. I just know that the transformation over time - it didn't used to be like this. Today, more and more, shows seem to want the sizzle instead of any substance.

I don't know if this trend is dictated by the CEOs who control the networks or if it's coming from the demand of the people. But I believe it's possible to tackle tough issues in a serious way on mainstream television and still make it entertaining. That's something I want to explore."

What would you say to prospective viewers who might assume the show has a religious agenda?

People have a tendency to define you how they met you. So if they met me preaching, they might say, "That's who he is," and put a period after that, as opposed to understanding that preaching is just one aspect of who I am.

I'm proud to do what I do on Sunday mornings. But this is more along the lines of what I do the remainder of the week: counseling parishioners and working to solve problems in the community.

If the test run is successful and the show goes into production for a full season, is there any chance you could move the operation to Dallas?

I'm rooting for Dallas, not only because it would be convenient for me, but also because I think it would be good for the city. We haven't ruled out Los Angeles or New York, but we would discuss Dallas as an option. It's not my decision alone, but it is a possibility.

My wife and I are empty-nesters, and we're used to traveling. And if it's Los Angeles, I have two children living there, meaning we'd still be around family. So we're ready for anything.

David Martindale is an Arlington freelance writer.

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