Dr Phil: daytime television talkshow to end after 21 seasons | Television
Dr. Phil, the US talkshow that saw Dr Phil McGraw divvy out life advice to individuals and which became a regular on daytime television around the world, is set to end later this year after 21 seasons.
Hosted by McGraw since 2002, the show saw him advise guests who were troubled by problems, often to do with their finances, weight, families, addictions and marriages.
“I have been blessed with over 25 wonderful years in daytime television,” McGraw said in a statement. “With this show, we have helped thousands of guests and millions of viewers through everything from addiction and marriage to mental wellness and raising children. This has been an incredible chapter of my life and career, but while I’m moving on from daytime, there is so much more I wish to do.”
CBS sources told Variety that McGraw made the call to end production on the show, which airs five days a week in the US.
McGraw, 72, first became known after appearing as a guest speaker on Oprah Winfrey’s talkshow in the 1990s and was soon famous for his folksy, straight-shooting advice. Dr Phil was initially produced by Winfrey’s Harpo Productions.
While McGraw holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, he stopped renewing his licence to practise in 2006.
The show’s use of psychology as entertainment was often controversial, with some criticising its treatment of mentally ill and vulnerable guests. In 2004, when McGraw likened a nine-year-old boy to a serial killer, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill wrote to CBS saying “Dr. Phil’s conduct is serious enough to warrant investigation by a relevant board of licensure.” A spokesperson for McGraw said the letter was “based on lack of information and inaccurate, inappropriate assumptions”.
In 2008, McGraw was criticised by the family of Britney Spears and mental health professionals for visiting the singer while she was being hospitalised for a mental breakdown, while attempting to make an episode about the state of her mental health. The special was eventually shelved.
In 2016, McGraw was criticised for his manner in an interview with former actor Shelley Duvall, who had previously starred in director Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining. Kubrick’s daughter Vivian Kubrick described McGraw’s behaviour towards Duvall as “exploitative” and “appallingly cruel”. A spokesperson for the show declined to comment.
In 2022, a group of current and former employees on Dr Phil alleged they experienced “verbal abuse in a workplace that fosters fear, intimidation, and racism”, and that the show’s guests were often manipulated and treated unethically. Attorneys for McGraw, who was not accused of mistreating the show’s employees, and his co-producer, Carla Pennington, denied all the allegations, while other employees described the work culture as positive.
Dr Phil continues to rank among the highest-rated daytime shows in the US, drawing in 2 million viewers a day.
CBS will continue to profit from the show, through syndication of old episodes.
“Phil changed the daytime landscape as the force behind one of the most popular talkshows ever on daytime TV,” the president of CBS Media Ventures, Steve LoCascio, said on Tuesday evening.
“We plan to be in the Dr. Phil business with the library for years to come and welcome opportunities to work together in the future.”