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    Dr. Phil to dispense advice daily on TV

    Dr. Phil to dispense advice daily on TV

    By Marc Allan

    July 18, 2002

    PASADENA, Calif. -- With Oprah Winfrey's words -- "You need to do your own show. It's time" -- ringing in his ears, Phillip C. McGraw is ready to launch his syndicated daytime program.

    "Dr. Phil," which premieres on WTHR (Channel 13) in September, will feature "life strategist" McGraw doing what he's done on "Oprah" since 1997: giving no-nonsense advice on family, marriage and parenting. He also told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour that he plans to conduct mock trials of anyone from Gary Condit to the Atlanta mother who shot her two sons, who suffered advanced cases of Huntington's disease.

    "I had two questions" going in, McGraw said in a Texas drawl that's become familiar to millions of "Oprah" viewers. "Did I have enough to say to be fresh and keep things going five days a week, as opposed to one? And did I have something new to offer that you couldn't find anywhere else in television?"

    His mail assured him there were enough questions, and he didn't see anyone else doing what he plans to do. There were no other issues; with Oprah's stamp of approval, "Dr. Phil" is all but guaranteed to succeed.

    In person, it's easy to see why. He charms you with a "gee whiz" manner that nearly belies the forcefulness of his opinions. He'll say things like, "I hear people sometimes say time heals all wounds. Time heals nothin'. It's what you do with that time."

    In a video clip, Winfrey put it this way: "Phil unleashed, in his purest, most direct form, is Phil at his best."

    "He is the smartest man I've ever met, yet he has kind of a down-home, aw-shucks demeanor," says Carla Pennington, the executive producer of "Dr. Phil." "I think that's endearing to people, especially to women. He's got a little bit of that bad boy, where you never know what he's going to say . . . but in terms of helping people, he's so clear-cut and so straightforward."

    Don't forget blunt.

    "I know I have a very spontaneous style," McGraw says, "but I think very, very carefully about what I am talking about."

    McGraw makes it look easy, but before he deals with someone's problem on the air, that person is screened and his or her problem researched. He won't counsel people who've spent time in a mental hospital, anyone who's in therapy -- unless he has the therapist's written consent-- or anyone on psychotropic drugs.

    He considers what he does on television to be education rather than therapy.

    "I always tell people that I never ask you to substitute my judgment for your own. I tell them that on the show, I tell them that before the show, I tell them that after the show. What I ask them to do is weigh my point of view very carefully, discuss it with their trusted family, friends, doctors, pastors, clergy, whatever, and make an informed decision about what they want to do."

    The accidental therapist

    He has reached this point in his career almost by accident. His father was a therapist who dreamed of a father-and-son practice, and so Dr. Phil "spent 12 years doing what I didn't really want to do."

    "I didn't have the patience for it," he says. "People sometimes were very motivated and wanted to do great. Other times, I think they wanted to rent a friend. . . . I'd be sitting there saying, 'You know, OK, here's the problem: You're a jerk. You can pay me for six months or I can tell you that now.' "

    He decided to do other things as part of his practice, including testifying as an expert witness in brain- and spinal-cord injury cases. Fifteen years ago, he founded Courtroom Sciences Inc., a company that specializes in trial strategy, jury selection, mock trials and witness preparation.

    Helped Winfrey win

    He worked with Winfrey for a year, helping her win after Texas cattlemen sued her in 1996, after she said she'd never eat another hamburger due to mad cow disease. The cattlemen said her comment caused beef prices to drop.

    In 1997, she asked him to be a guest on her show. Weekly appearances made him a superstar and helped to make his books, "Life Strategies," "Relationship Rescue" and "Self Matters," best sellers.

    "I've never been under the impression that we're doing eight-minute cures on television," he says. "But I do think that it is a worthy endeavor to be an emotional compass for people and kind of point them down the direction of where to go or what to do."

    Call Marc Allan at 1-317-444-6398.


    i wrote to the oprah show a few weeks back asking for her support with this stem cell issue and for spinal cord injury itself. maybe if all of us on this forum could write her a letter she would lend her support to our cause. it is certain that her influence is great. she can turn a ordinary book into a bestseller the power to get someone thier on show maybe she came help us. please write her! [img]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]


      'Dr. Phil' parlays popular guest appearances into his own daytime talk show

      'Dr. Phil' parlays popular guest appearances into his own daytime talk show


      By Dave Walker TV columnist

      HOLLYWOOD -- Phil McGraw's life strategy will soon expand to include a show of his own.

      My advice to him: Plan on having a hit.

      The calming TV counselor, who in a few weeks will launch "Dr. Phil," last week told members of the Television Critics Association gathered here for the summer TV press tour that he sees his new syndicated platform as a logical extension of his "Oprah" outreach.

      "I am going to do all the things that I have done on 'Oprah' over the last four years, and that's what I call the traditional issues," said McGraw. "As long as it's involved in human functioning, I feel very comfortable with it.

      "I'm not going to be telling anybody what to do with their 401(k)'s. We're not going to have any fashion shows or make-overs."

      Instead, the expected topics include issues of marriage and family, parenting, and "chronic challenges like your weight and managing diabetes and women in pre-menopausal and post-menopausal phases," he said. "And then programming our children for health, as well.

      "And I want to deal with what I call the silent epidemics, the things that maybe don't get a lot of big notoriety . . . but things that are eroding our quality of life."

      "Dr. Phil," produced under the embracing aegis of Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions, is scheduled to debut Sept. 16, and will air in New Orleans at 4 p.m. weekdays on local Fox affiliate WVUE-Channel 8.

      Holder of a doctorate in clinical psychology, McGraw said he hasn't actively practiced in the counseling field for years -- aside from TV work and best-selling books, of course -- and didn't really enjoy one-on-one life-help work while he was doing it.

      McGraw actually entered the field only because his father was a therapist whose dream was to have a father-and-son practice. McGraw helped his dad realize that dream, but only for a little while.

      "At the time I was going into practice, I knew right away it wasn't for me," he said. "I spent 12 years doing what I didn't really want to do.

      "But from the very beginning, it wasn't for me. I didn't have the patience for it. I mean, people sometimes were very motivated and wanted to do great. Other times, I think they just wanted to rent a friend. They'd want to sit there and talk to you for six months. Not always, but there were a lot of times I (could) figure this out in the first hour.

      "I'd be sitting there saying, 'You know, OK, here's the problem. You are a jerk. You can pay me for six months, and I can tell you that, or I can just tell you that now.'

      "And sometimes they weren't ready to listen as fast as I was ready to talk.

      "I just did not have the temperament for it, and I recognized that."

      McGraw's subsequent experience as an expert witness in brain and spinal cord injury cases eventually led to a successful litigation-consulting business, Courtroom Sciences Inc., which specializes in trial strategy, jury selection and witness preparation.

      It was while working in that lucrative capacity that McGraw met Winfrey, who was sued by cattlemen under a Texas "food disparagement" statute over an "Oprah" devoted to mad-cow disease.

      Working with Winfrey's legal team, "we lived as a group in a bed-and-breakfast on the edge of town for two months, and during that time we just became really good friends," McGraw said.

      And, eventually, he became a regular guest on her hugely popular afternoon talk show.

      "She gave me, I think, two great pieces of advice," he said. "One was, 'Be yourself. Make them build television around you instead of you building television around them.' And, secondly, she said, 'Lighting is everything.'

      "I didn't know what she meant until I started getting on the set and trying to get this bald head not to blind the cameras."

      McGraw, mindful of the perils of quick-fix pop psychology, said the seemingly facile suggestions he gives on the air are backed up by exhaustive pre-interviews of his teleclients. Before the cameras are turned on, for example, he's already typically digested a 40-page report, compiled by staffers, about the subject and his or her relevant issues.

      "I know I have a very spontaneous style, but I weigh very, very carefully what I am talking about," he said. "If it's in an area in which I haven't worked recently, we do in-depth surveys of the literature in psychology and psychiatry before we make comments that people might listen to and react to.

      "I've never been under the impression that we're doing eight-minute cures on television, but I do think it is a worthy endeavor to be an emotional compass for people, and kind of point them down a direction of where to go or what to do, even if it's to self-diagnose.

      "My idea of what I'm doing is education rather than therapy."

      . . . . . . .

      AND THE WINNERS ARE: The Television Critics Association gave out its annual awards Saturday night.

      Accepting an Outstanding Achievement in Comedy award for Fox's "The Bernie Mac Show," co-creator and executive producer Larry Wilmore said, "It's the one award where you can't say, 'So there, critics!' "

      Other winners:

      New Program, Fox's "24"; News & Information, PBS's "Frontline"; Movies, Miniseries and Specials, HBO's "Band of Brothers"; Children's Programming, Nickelodeon's "Spongebob Squarepants"; Drama, "Six Feet Under"; Individual Achievement in Comedy, Bernie Mac; Individual Achievement in Drama, Michael Chiklis, FX's "The Shield"; Program of the Year, "24."

      Disclosure: HBO's "The Sopranos," which aired no new episodes during the September-May TV season, wasn't eligible for the TCA Awards this time. Same goes for the Emmys, so no three-peat for James Gandolfini.

      The TCA's Career Achievement award went to Bill Cosby. A Heritage award for longstanding excellence went to Fox's "The Simpsons."

      . . . . . . .

      TV columnist Dave Walker can be reached at or (504) 826-3429.




        am i the only one here that feels this lady has a lot of power and could influence cause, we make be able to speed things up abit, because it's all about money and knowing right peolpe and one person to really care about this i think she shoud meet dr wise young and get his take on the whole stem cell issue but we need letters from eveyone so please contact her show vie email. ;please please, guys she has a big heart and i know with the right issue and speaker for us we could move things a lot faster thanks, gloria