“Dr. Phil,” one of daytime television’s must-have talk shows, will end its run of original episodes in the spring after 21 seasons.
Dr. Phil McGraw, 72, has made the decision to stop producing new episodes at the end of the current 2022-23 season. Distributor CBS Media Ventures hopes to keep syndicated “Dr. Phil” on the air with a repeat set for at least the 2023-24 season.
CBS sources pointed out that McGraw had called for an end to production on the hour-long series that airs Monday through Friday. McGraw has done more as a prime-time scripted show producer in recent years. He also hosts two podcasts. Despite widespread steep declines in linear television, “Dr. Phil” still averages around 2 million viewers per episode. That makes it the highest-rated daytime talk show behind Disney’s “Live With Kelly and Ryan.”
For McGraw, the “Dr. Phil” sunset comes after a quarter century of daytime work. He made his debut as a regular guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in the late 1990s. led to the launch of its own series in the fall of 2002. Initially, the series was produced by Winfrey’s Harpo Productions and distributed by CBS-owned King World Productions.
“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.
McGraw hinted at an upcoming new TV attempt noting that he intends to announce a “strategic prime-time partnership” that will be designed to enable him “to increase his impact on television and viewers”. McGraw is targeting an early 2024 launch although details remain scarce.
“I am compelled to engage with a wider audience because I have serious concerns for the American family, and I am determined to help restore clarity of purpose as well as our core values,” McGraw said.
The loss of the original “Dr. Phil” and the license fees and advertising revenue generated by the show will certainly be a blow to Paramount Global’s bottom line. News of McGraw’s decision to end the news production surfaced in part because TV operators were taken aback by the high price CBS is seeking for the “Dr. Phil” rerun package to run next season.
“Phil is a valued partner and member of the CBS/King World family, and although his show is ending after 21 years, I’m happy to say our relationship is not,” said Steve LoCascio, president of CBS Media Ventures. “Phil has changed the landscape of the day as the force behind one of the most popular talk shows ever to air on daytime television. We plan to be in the ‘Dr. Phil’ works with the library to years to come and welcomes opportunities to work together in the future.
CBS aims to dress up repeat episodes with new wraparound material filmed by McGraw, including updates on the whereabouts of specific guests and new developments in counseling and therapy. McGraw has endeared himself to millions of viewers with his folksy brand of advice he has given to melting couples, harassed parents, surly teenagers, wayward adults and others struggling with addiction, disease mental and relationship problems.
McGraw’s show has also come under heavy criticism over the years for what some see as exploitation of guests and their issues in the name of ratings. In 2016, “Dr. Phil” took a beating for an episode featuring actor Shelley Duvall, who had a long and public struggle with mental illness. In announcing the show’s sunset, CBS said noted that “Dr. Phil” provided more than $35 million in guest resources after cameras stopped rolling.In 2016, the show took a beating for its handling of an interview with actor Shelley Duvall , who had a long struggle with mental illness.
Before he rose to fame on “Oprah Winfrey,” McGraw was a prominent jury consultant who ran his own company, Courtroom Sciences Inc. This aspect of his resume inspired the CBS scripted drama “Bull,” which starred Michael Weatherly and ran for six seasons starting in 2016.
Currently, McGraw serves as executive producer of “So Help Me Todd,” the mother-son legal drama that debuted on CBS last fall. He also hosts the “Phil in the Blanks” and “Mystery & Murder: Analysis by Dr. Phil” podcasts, produced by Stage 29 Productions, the banner he runs with his son Jay McGraw.
“Dr. Phil” earned 31 Daytime Emmy nominations over its long run. For Season 21, McGraw is executive producing with Carla Pennington.