Dr. Steve Perry, an educator, is doing a two-run test run for a potential syndicated talk show in eight markets including Atlanta on Fox 5 from January 7 to January 18.

Fox tests Dr. Steve Perry talk show in eight markets including Atlanta for two weeks starting Jan. 7

Originally posted Friday, January 4, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

When Fox wants to test out potential syndicated shows, it usually uses Atlanta’s WAGA-TV/Fox 5 as a testing ground. 

Why? It’s owned and operated by Fox itself and it pulls in some of the biggest ratings of all Fox affiliates.

Over the years, Fox has tried out eventual successful talk shows such as “The Real” and “The Wendy Williams Show” this way. But others  - such as talk shows featuring Ice-T and Coco and another with Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker - never made it past the test stage. 

Its latest effort is unusual because it’s being done in January instead of the summer months and the host is an educator, not a celebrity type: Dr. Steve Perry. (Not to be mistaken for former Journey lead singer Steve Perry.)

Called “Breakthrough with Dr. Steve Perry,” the show will air from Monday, January 7 through Friday, January 18 in eight markets. In Atlanta, Fox 5 will sub out “Page Six TV” at 2 p.m. for the show. 

The other seven markets are: WNYW (New York) 2 p.m.; KTTV (Los Angeles) 1 p.m.; KTXH (Houston) 5 p.m.; KUTP (Phoenix) 8 p.m.; WJBK (Detroit) 2 p.m.; WOFL (Orlando) 2 p.m.; and WJZY (Charlotte) 10 a.m.

“We think ‘Breakthrough’ has potential,” said Frank Cicha, Senior Vice President of Programming for FOX Television Stations. “And being able to present it in January, when there isn’t much going on in syndication, makes it that much more compelling. Our goal is to deliver fresh programming year-round, so we’re glad to be working with CBS on this.”

Dr. Perry’s show is not celebrity driven. Rather, the former social worker will bring in guests in crisis, at a crossroads or stuck in a problematic relationship.

“I’m helping people uncover what is inside of them to make them awesome and move past those blockages,” said Dr. Perry in an interview last week.  

He said the stories range from serious to sublime. There is the woman whose husband was addicted to opioids and took his own life. Then there is a woman with super strange taste in men, who likes ugly feet and a small unit. 

Dr. Perry, a University of Pennsylvania grad who began his career as a social worker, has opened multiple private schools in Bridgeport, CT and Harlem focused on helping disadvantaged youth. The West Haven Ct. resident gave these kids a chance, ensured them that he gave a damn.

“I love them like my own sons,” he said. “I don’t have tolerance for people who don’t love my kids.”

Perry knows he can’t solve people’s problems on TV in an hour. He just hopes he can shed some light on their situations. “I’ll introduce solutions,” he said. “Will they listen?”

He is grateful for the opportunities bestowed upon him but he admits he is no expert on the business. Whether he gets a full-time show or not this fall, he said he will continue to work to improve the lives of as many kids as possible.

“I have been given so many ridiculous opportunities,” he said, “more than I deserve. I believe you either make a living or you make a life.”

And if the show moves forward, Dr. Perry said he will shoot 35 minutes from his home so he can continue his life as an educator. He has no plans to become a full-time “personality.” 

“I’m not like Dr. Phil,” Dr. Perry said. “I’m more like a Tribe Called Quest. People who know it, know it. I’ve been on the chitlin circuit for 20 years fighting hard for our children.”

And yes, he is well aware of the singer of “Don’t Stop Believin’” “He owns the Internet, which is why I call myself Dr. Steve Perry.” 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.