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About Dr. Phil
Dr. Phil is an American talk show created by Oprah Winfrey and the host 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 and forensic psychologist.
The show is in syndication throughout the United States and a number of other countries. Its tenth season premiered on September 12, 2011. Occasional prime time specials have aired on CBS. The program has been nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award every year since 2004. Since September 2008, Dr. Phil has been broadcast in HDTV with a revamped look and a new theme written and performed by McGraw’s son, Jordan.
The executive producers are Phil McGraw and showrunner Oprah Winfrey. It is a production of Peteski Productions and distributed by CBS Television Distribution. Harpo Productions co-produced the series until 2010, with Paramount Domestic Television and its successor, CBS Paramount Domestic Television, serving as secondary co-producers until 2007. It was originally distributed by King World Productions.
The program is recorded before a live studio audience in Stage 29 on the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood, California. It is recorded from August through to May with a break in December for the holiday season. Reruns of earlier episodes of the series began broadcasting on the Oprah Winfrey Network in January 2011. On October 25, 2018, it was announced that Dr. Phil had been renewed for four additional seasons, taking the show to May 2023, or the end of its 21st season.
McGraw’s advice and methods have drawn criticism from psychotherapists as well as from laypersons. McGraw said in a 2001 South Florida newspaper interview that he never liked traditional one-on-one counseling, and that “I am not the Hush-Puppies, pipe and ‘Let’s talk about your mother’ kind of psychologist.” In 2004, the National Alliance on Mental Illness called McGraw’s conduct in one episode of his television show “unethical” and “incredibly irresponsible”. McGraw’s critics regard advice given by him to be at best simplistic, and at worst, ineffective.
Shelley Duvall, an actress retired since 2002, who was reportedly suffering from mental illness, appeared on a segment on the show in 2016. It drew significant criticism from the public, with many suggesting that Shelley Duvall’s mental illness was being exploited. In the segment, she refused the offered treatment.
The show covers a wide variety of topics including weight loss, financial planning, errant children, gift suggestions, autistic children, 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 former child star Danny Bonaduce came to the show twice in a year to discuss his failing marriage (and later divorce) with second wife Gretchen.
On several shows children and/or adults have taken polygraph tests, usually 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. McGraw is noted for often bringing families back on multiple shows for follow-up “therapy” sessions in his segment called “Dr. Phil Family.”