The Trinity Broadcasting Network is set to launch an overnight news and analysis program on Monday that offers facts followed by biblical commentary.
Called “Centerpoint,” the 30-minute program was born out of a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the urban riots that followed the death of George Floyd, a network official said. This marks a departure from TBN’s usual list of Christian teaching and worship offerings.
“In March 2020, the world changed so much,” said Bob Fopma, the network’s chief operating officer. “Suddenly we realized that people were really hungry for content relevant to what was happening in the world. And so we pivoted, very quickly.
“It was not enough to have a Bible teaching program that had been recorded a few months earlier; people really needed something different,” Mr. Fopma said. “[The network] I saw that the response was really very, very positive.
TBN began doing one-minute “press shots” between shows in January 2021, and after sensing “a real thirst for this from our viewers”, a daily half-hour show was “the next step,” he said.
The evangelical television network claims to be available to 98% of US homes through cable, satellite and streaming options.
Former Fox News reporter Doug McKelway will host the program with TBN reporter Blynda Lane. Erick Stackelbeck, who hosts TBN’s “The Watchman,” covering Middle Eastern issues, will be a correspondent, the network said.
“In our approach to coverage, we’re going to reach far beyond the Christian community,” McKelway said.
He said he didn’t have extensive experience in Christian circles, but told TBN executives: “I’m just going to contact the same people I’ve contacted all my life, the same way I did. , and cover stories the same way I’ve always covered them.
It’s OK with TBN’s COO: “Doug is the presenter, he delivers the facts,” Mr. Fompa said. “He kind of controls the flow of the program.”
Mr. Fopma credited Michael Clemente, the show’s producer and a Fox News and ABC News veteran, and Mr. McKelway for bringing “gravity” to the project.
“You have to give us some credibility when you do that,” he said. “You need people who have been in the trenches in the news business.”
Ms Lane, a well-known journalist and commentator in Christian circles, said she expects to learn from Mr McKelway’s experience.
“I would say it’s exciting to have someone of this caliber to run our show, it’s really exciting,” Ms Lane said. “I am thrilled at the opportunity to partner with Doug to relay the information in a way that I believe will be told the truth,” she added.
Mr. McKelway worked as a reporter for years at WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C., where his late grandfather Benjamin M. McKelway worked as editor of the now-defunct Washington Star newspaper, and his late uncle, John McKelway, wrote a column for The Washington Times.
Mr. McKelway is married to Susan Ferrechio, a political reporter for The Washington Times.