Dr. Phil, the American talk show that saw Dr. Phil McGraw give life advice to individuals and 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 has seen him counsel guests who were troubled by issues, often related to their finances, weight, family, addictions and marriages.
“I have been blessed with over 25 wonderful years in daytime television,” McGraw said in a statement. “With this show, we’ve helped thousands of guests and millions of viewers through everything from addiction and marriage to mental wellness and parenting. It’s been an amazing chapter in my life and career, but as I walk away from the day, there’s so much more I want to do.
CBS sources told Variety that McGraw called for an end to production on the show, which airs five days a week in the United States.
McGraw, 72, first rose to prominence after appearing as a guest speaker on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show in the 1990s and quickly rose to fame for his folksy, straight-forward advice. Dr. Phil was originally produced by Winfrey’s Harpo Productions.
While McGraw holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, he stopped renewing his license in 2006.
The show’s use of psychology as entertainment was often controversial, with some criticizing its treatment of mentally ill and vulnerable guests. In 2004, when McGraw compared 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 an investigation by counsel.” competent administration. A spokesperson for McGraw said the letter was “based on a lack of information and inaccurate and inappropriate assumptions.”
In 2008, McGraw came under fire from Britney Spears’ family and mental health professionals for visiting the singer while she was hospitalized with a mental breakdown, while attempting to do an episode on the state of his mental health. The special was eventually cancelled.
In 2016, McGraw came under fire for his manners in an interview with former actor Shelley Duvall, who previously starred in director Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Kubrick’s daughter, Vivian Kubrick, described McGraw’s behavior towards Duvall as “exploitative” and “appallingly cruel”. A spokesperson for the show declined to comment.
In 2022, a group of current and former Dr. Phil employees claimed to have been victims of “verbal abuse in a workplace that fosters fear, bullying and racism”, and that the show’s guests were often manipulated and treated unethically. Lawyers for McGraw, who has not been charged with abusing the show’s employees, and his co-producer Carla Pennington have denied all allegations, while other employees have called the work culture a positive.
Dr. Phil continues to rank among the highest-rated daytime shows in the United States, attracting 2 million viewers daily.
CBS will continue to profit from the show, thanks to the syndication of old episodes.
“Phil changed the landscape of the day as the force behind one of the most popular daytime talk shows ever to air on daytime television,” CBS Media Ventures President Steve LoCascio said Tuesday night.
“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.”