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Phil McGraw to end 'Dr. Phil' after 21-year daytime TV run

The talk show host, who started on Oprah Winfrey's show in the late 1990s, has been on daytime television for more than 25 years.
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Phil McGraw announced Tuesday he's wrapping up the 21-year daytime TV run of "Dr. Phil" in the spring.

The talk and advice show will stop airing after the end of the current season, according to CBS Media Ventures, the content creator associated with the CBS network under the conglomerate Paramount Global.

McGraw, 72, plans to announce a "prime-time partnership" that will launch in 2024, CBS Media Ventures said in a statement.

"This has been an incredible chapter of my life and career," McGraw said in the statement, "but while I’m moving on from daytime, there is so much more I wish to do."

The transition keeps him in the CBS family.

"While his show may be ending after 21 years, I’m happy to say our relationship is not," Steve LoCascio, the president of CBS Media Ventures, said in the statement.

The company plans to continue offering reruns of the show, which may include new intros, for the season after its last airing.

"We plan to be in the ‘Dr. Phil’ business with the library for years to come and welcome opportunities to work together in the future," LoCascio said.

McGraw was once a licensed psychologist in Texas before he moved to California to launch “Dr. Phil." McGraw’s advice went on to help create an industry that later welcomed another TV doctor, Mehmet Oz, to the airwaves.

He started his entertainment career as America’s life coach on Oprah Winfrey’s show in the 1990s.

Before his TV debut, McGraw met Winfrey in 1996 when she hired him to help and counsel her in a defamation case with the beef industry. “It was there that she learned about his straight-forward approach to life coaching,” according to Oprah's site.

Dr. Phil McGraw and Oprah Winfrey (Photo by Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic)
Phil McGraw and Oprah Winfrey at the Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 22.Mathew Imaging / FilmMagic file

In 2004, two years after Winfrey’s production company launched the show, McGraw came under fire for seeming to offer help to Americans while also providing disclaimers stating the show is for entertainment purposes, not for professional counseling or therapy.

At the time, it included a disclaimer that said material offered on the program was “not necessarily created or approved by a certified mental health professional.”

Sociologist Julie Albright, an expert in family therapy at the University of Southern California, said in 2008, “It’s hard to do therapy or intervention in a half-hour or one-hour spot.”

The issue of whether the show was for entertainment or popular therapy generated headlines in 2008 when McGraw went to Britney Spears' Los Angeles hospital room, where she was being evaluated after she engaged in a standoff with authorities following a dispute over the custody of her two toddlers.

At the time, Spears had also had a run of high-profile incidents, including shaving her head and attacking a vehicle with an umbrella.

In reaction to criticism that he was trying to insert himself into the story for the entertainment value, McGraw canceled a planned show about the pop star's situation. He said in a statement released at the time that the show was to be about Spears' situation before the hospitalization and that he went to the hospital at the request of her parents.

While "Dr. Phil" sought to distance itself from the notion it would ever give medical advice or psychological therapy, McGraw on Tuesday embraced the idea that its legacy includes helping everyday viewers heal and evolve.

"With this show," he said in the CBS Media Ventures statement, "we have helped thousands of guests and millions of viewers through everything from addiction and marriage to mental wellness and raising children."