By Desiree Johnson

Killeen Daily Herald

You can make it on television if you have a good idea and some serious motivation. Mary Beth Harrell has both. That's why the first episode of her new show, "Insight with Mary Beth Harrell," is premiering Thursday on KNCT-TV.

Harrell's show is based around open discussions with women in the community who make influential decisions.

"I got the idea from the Women in Leadership Program, a part of the Temple Chamber of Commerce," Harrell said. "It's entertaining, a good fit for PBS, and they were all for it. So far, we've taped 12 shows on subjects like courts, banking, health care and how to practice faith in our community."

During the show, Harrell asks her subjects tough questions and provides them with fuel for an open discussion. She even went to the streets to get members of the community to ask questions and make comments that her guests can respond to on the show.

"So many women are influential and make big decisions about things that interest all of us and I wanted to see how they do it all," Harrell said. "I don't want anyone to think this is just a show for women, either. We address issues that affect everyone – we just happen to be talking to women."

Harrell moved to Texas in 1987 where, after attending St. Mary's Law School in San Antonio, she has been a practicing attorney for eight years. Creating "Insight" has brought Harrell experiences she would not have had in the courtroom.

"This show has allowed me to talk about the issues that concern me as well; it's been amazing being able to produce the show," Harrell said. "We did an episode where I interviewed three judges: an Austin appeals court judge, a Bell County district judge, and a (justice of the peace). As a lawyer, it was interesting to turn the tables a bit and be allowed to ask them the questions instead of standing in court letting them ask me questions."

The experience has also shown Harrell a characteristic of strong women in the community she had not seen before.

"The level of humility has been the most amazing, surprising thing so far," Harrell said. "All the guests say, There's got to be someone more important for you to talk to,' but they don't realize that they make such a huge difference themselves."

The show airs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on PBS.

"This week's episode is really interesting," Harrell said. "While it's mostly about practicing faith, we also touched on how politics is mixing with religion nowadays."

If you miss the original airing, you can still catch entire episodes on the show's Web site at In addition to catching missed episodes, the Web site also features an area where people can e-mail comments, questions and suggestions.

"We really do want to hear from people. I want to know what people think, and the feedback helps make the decision as to whether or not we continue with the show," Harrell said.

You can also catch Harrell guest-hosting the "Lynn Woolley Radio Show" July 17-19. Listen live from 7 to 10 a.m. on the radio show's Web site,

Contact Desiree Johnson at or call (254) 501-7559

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