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Dr. Phil (TV series)

Dr. Phil
Genre Talk show
Created by Oprah Winfrey
Presented by Phil McGraw
Opening theme "Shine" by Meredith Brooks used from 2004-2008
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 13
No. of episodes 2,142[1]
Camera setup Multiple
Running time 45 to 48 minutes
Production company(s) Harpo Productions
Peteski Productions
Paramount Domestic Television
CBS Paramount Domestic Television
King World Productions
CBS Television Distribution
Distributor King World Productions
CBS Television Distribution
Original channel Syndication
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original release September 16, 2002 (2002-09-16) – present
Related shows The Oprah Winfrey Show
The Doctors
External links

Dr. Phil is a talk show hosted by Phil McGraw. After McGraw's success with his segments on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil debuted on September 16, 2002. On both shows McGraw offers advice in the form of "life strategies" from his life experience as a clinical psychologist.

The show is in syndication throughout the United States and a number of other countries. Its tenth season premiered on September 12, 2011. The show is to be renewed through 2014, or twelve seasons. Occasional prime time specials have aired on CBS. The program has been nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award every year since 2004.

Since September 2009, Dr. Phil has been broadcast in HDTV with a revamped look and a new theme written and performed by McGraw's son, Jordan.

Originally produced by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions in association with Paramount Domestic Television and distributed by King World Productions, since 2007 it is produced and distributed solely by PTV's and KWP's successor, CBS Television Distribution with Peteski Productions.

This program is taped before a live studio audience on Stage 29 at the Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood, CA twice in the morning on Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday. Tapings take place from the end of August through mid December, and then from January through early May. (excluding holidays)

Reruns of the series began broadcast on the Oprah Winfrey Network as of January 2011.


The show covers a wide variety of topics, including weight loss, financial planning, errant children, gift suggestions, children who have been diagnosed with autism, unhappily married couples, rebellious teenagers, mothers who dress far from their age, mothers who refuse to attend weddings, children being stars and their parents' rights, the emotional benefits of controlling, dysfunctional families, mothers who refuse to give their married sons money, and support for charitable causes. Radio personality and ex-child star Danny Bonaduce, came to the show twice in a year to discuss his failing marriage (and later divorce) with Gretchen.

On several shows, children and/or adults have taken polygraph exams, most particularly done by retired FBI agent, Jack Trimarco. The show is generally serious in tone, leavened with humor from time to time. It has its occasional tense moments and often trashy scenes, like that of The Montel Williams Show, but without melees or aggressive fights on stage, in contrast to The Jerry Springer Show, The Steve Wilkos Show or Maury Povich's program. McGraw is noted for often bringing back families for multiple shows for follow-up "therapy" sessions in his segment called "Dr. Phil Family."

Generally, the program is filmed and guests appear in studio, but in 2006, the Dr. Phil House began as an occasional series. McGraw and his production staff invite guests to a special house wired with numerous cameras and microphones. There, his staff monitor the conversations of the guests he is trying to help, and intervene as necessary to prevent physical violence. McGraw also provides on-the-spot advice and counseling to the "house guests." McGraw's wife, Robin, sits in the studio audience for almost every show, and at the end of the show, walks out of the set with him.

Notable episodes

  • In a show that aired on May 2, 2005, twin sisters Jocelyn and Crystal Potter appeared. Crystal claimed to want to work in the adult industry together with Jocelyn, who rejected the idea as repulsive. Brothel owner Dennis Hof was interviewed and stated that the two could make half a million dollars per year in his establishment. But the sisters' testimony proved to be less than truthful: beginning in 2002, they appeared as the "Potter Sisters" in numerous pornographic films together, and in 2003, they even appeared together with Hof in the porn film Goin' Down At The Bunny Ranch. This show received much criticism due to the perceptions of hypocrisy, as even though McGraw was an outspoken critic of pornography, his own son Jay McGraw was married to Erica Dahm, a Playboy Playmate (December 1998), who was notable for performing with her two other, identical triplet sisters.[2][3]
  • The Dr. Phil House was set in an actual house within the Wilshire Park neighborhood in Los Angeles. It received numerous complaints from neighbors about the disruption caused by filming crews, the guests, cables and production trucks clogging the neighborhood and the constant traffic caused by filming. After the Los Angeles City Council revoked film permits, in September 2006, Dr. Phil stopped filming there. However, "Peteski" Productions, the show's production company, which drew its name from the nickname of one of McGraw's sons, retained ownership of the house. The Dr. Phil House later moved to a studio back lot, and the interior of the house shown in the program became that of a sound stage and ceased to be that of the actual house.[4]
  • In 2006, a confidence scam[citation needed] was discovered, involving a psychic shop that fraudulently represented Dr. Phil. The women running the scam had set up a phone line that they claimed was run by the director of Dr. Phil. By telling customers that they could have a phone conversation with McGraw for $750 an hour, they scammed Dr. Phil's viewers out of thousands of dollars.[5] McGraw himself disowned any connection to the scammers.
  • On December 12, 2006, the show featured a segment on Bumfights and attacks on the homeless across America. McGraw discontinued an interview, before asking any questions, with Ty Beeson, producer of the video series, who had styled himself in a manner similar to Dr. Phil. Beeson was forced off the set by Paramount Studios security guards as the studio audience clapped and cheered.[6]

Dr. Phil Now

Episodes under the Dr. Phil Now banner usually feature current events in the news with McGraw's viewpoint, often with an interview with the subject involved, which may include a suspect in a true crime case, the parents in a contentious child custody battle, or a celebrity subject. These episodes often feature more urgent music, and often feature McGraw originating the segment from the master control room of KCBS-TV with a bank of monitors tuned to various news networks and local news stations to give a more news-like feel to the episode.


McGraw's advice and methods have drawn criticism from some fellow psychotherapists as well as from some laymen. McGraw's critics regard advice given by him to be at best simplistic, and at worst, ineffective.[7] He has been criticized for "reducing people's struggles to generic sound-bites, with little interest in context or history."[8] McGraw said in a 2001 South Florida newspaper interview that he never liked traditional one-on-one counseling, and that "I'm not the Hush-Puppies, pipe and 'Let's talk about your mother' kind of psychologist."[9]


  1. ^ "Episodes: Dr. Phil on Syndication". TV Guide. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  2. ^ Ben Widdicombe (2005). "Dr. Phil's Double Trouble". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on December 31, 2005. Retrieved January 31, 2008. 
  3. ^ Anon (2005). "How Dr. Phil became Dr. Phoney". Retrieved January 31, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Dr. Phil gets the heave-ho for filming abuses," Office of council member Tom Labonge, 4th Council District Newsletter [1] Last accessed December 12, 2006
  5. ^ "Dr. Phil Confronts Scammers" from [2] Last accessed December 12, 2006
  6. ^ "Dr. Phil Kicks Guest Off Show" on YouTube
  7. ^ Salerno, Steve (2005). SHAM; How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless. Crown Publishers. ISBN 1-4000-5409-5. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Lavin, Cheryl. "Dr. Tell it Like it Is." South Florida Sun Sentinel, July 3, 2001, Page 1E

Further reading

Sophia Dembling, Lisa Gutierrez (2005). The Making of Dr. Phil: The Straight-Talking True Story of Everyone's Favorite Therapist. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-69659-5. 

External links