When Obi Wan Kenobi said “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy,” he was referring to the Tattooine space port of Mos Eisley. What he could’ve been referring to was daytime television. What was once a bastion for game shows and soap operas eventually gave way to talk shows. This in turn gave way to sensationalized talk shows like “The Jerry Springer Show,” “The Jenny Jones Show”, and “Maury.” With those long gone, there has still been one domino left to fall. That domino is “Dr. Phil”, and the fall is happening this year.
Phil McGraw was a licensed clinical psychologist who rose to fame through his connections to Oprah Winfrey. In the mid 1990s, Oprah was famously sued by the Texas Beef Group after the organization alleged she made disparaging comments about the beef industry, affecting their sales. At the time, Dr. Phil was working as the co-founder of a trial consulting firm that helps clients go to trial and prepare strategies for jury selection, witness questioning, etc.. Oprah took a liking to McGraw, and started featuring him on her show. In 2002, the then-doctor proved popular enough to warrant his own program.
“Dr. Phil” has been a staple of daytime television since then. When it comes to talk shows, his program has been in the top two most popular almost for the entirety of its run. It was cheap and easy drama; problematic kids, troubled people; you name it and it was probably on an episode of “Dr. Phil.” Maybe they weren’t topics as salacious as they would’ve been on “The Jerry Springer” show, but one could argue that makes the content all the more problematic in a way. “Dr. Phil” literally has the word doctor right in the name, so what he says and does must be more trustworthy, right?
Well, the time has come, and the “Dr. Phil” show will be leaving the airwaves this year. While no date has been officially given for the final episode, the program will still be airing in reruns for some time. A syndication package is already being planned, which will repackage old episodes of the show with new intro and outro wraparounds that provide updates on the people featured in the segments. So if you legitimately enjoy the workings of Phil McGraw, you can continue to enjoy them in some form.
The ending of the show comes after the May 2022 cancellation of the CBS legal drama “Bull.” While these may seem like completely unrelated facts, “Bull” is actually a show co-created by McGraw about his time working as a trial consultant. (It was also the source of several legal headaches for CBS regarding series star Michael Weatherly and a $9.5 million settlement payment to co-star Eliza Dushku.)
McGraw did announce he has some sort of “prime-time partnership” lined up with CBS Media Ventures. But who knows, maybe we’ll be lucky and it’ll be merged into Paramount+ with Showtime and be subsequently axed as a tax write-off.