Phil McGraw, a controversial television personality and psychologist known as “Dr. Phil,” plans to end his long-running talk show in the coming months, according to a statement released by CBS Media Ventures.
The daytime show has been running for 21 years.
“With this show, we have helped thousands of guests and millions of viewers through everything from addiction and marriage to mental wellness and raising children,” McGraw said in the statement. “This has been an incredible chapter of my life and career, but while I’m moving on from daytime, there is so much more I wish to do.”
According to the statement, McGraw chose to leave the show so he could move on to other ventures, including prime-time programming. The “Dr. Phil” show was renewed in 2018 to run through 2023, and it will continue to air new episodes for the rest of the current season and not be renewed again.
McGraw, whose career on daytime television spans more than 25 years, first made his mark as a frequent guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in the 1990s. “Dr. Phil” premiered in 2002 and held a ranking of No. 1 or No. 2 in its genre for the past two decades. The syndicated daytime show received 31 Emmy nominations and won five PRISM Awards.
The “Dr. Phil” talk show, in which guests talk about mental health and other life issues and get advice, has been applauded for opening up dialogues about therapy and mental health. But both McGraw and his show have received criticism over the years. Despite drawing over 2 million total viewers, the show has been called out for exploiting people with mental illnesses for the sake of entertainment.
In 2016, a teen guest on the show who was deemed by her mother to be “out of control” went viral when she said “Catch me outside, how about that” as she tried to fight the audience. Another woman, who claimed she was pregnant with baby Jesus and that Eminem was the father, has appeared on the show multiple times.
The show has also faced legal troubles. According to The Washington Post, a Colorado woman appeared on the talk show in 2019 and was sent to a ranch for troubled teens in Utah, where she was allegedly sexually assaulted by a staff member. In 2021, she sued McGraw and ViacomCBS, alleging her family was pushed to send her to the program but weren’t informed that past attendees had accused staffers there of misconduct.
In 2020, McGraw came under fire for a tweet he posted and then deleted about sexual assault. “If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her? Reply yes or no to @drphil,” the tweet read, with the hashtag #teenssccused. The show defended the tweet in a statement, saying that it was intended “to evoke discussion into a very serious show topic based upon a recent news story, hence the #teensaccused label,” adding that the question was a poll rather than a statement or joke.
An investigation conducted by BuzzFeed News last year also revealed that current and former employees said they had experienced “verbal abuse in a workplace that fosters fear, intimidation, and racism.”
McGraw also faced scrutiny following comments he made about COVID-19 during a 2020 Fox News interview, which featured him and a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
“Two hundred and fifty people a year die from poverty, and the poverty line is getting such that more and more people are going to fall below that because the economy is crashing around us,” McGraw said. “And they’re doing that because people are dying from the coronavirus. I get that.”
He continued: “But, look, the fact of the matter is we have people dying — 45,000 people a year die from automobile accidents, 480,000 from cigarettes, 360,000 a year from swimming pools, but we don’t shut the country down for that. But yet we’re doing it for this? And the fallout is going to last for years because people’s lives are being destroyed.”