TV & Movies

‘Dr. Phil’ To End After 21 Seasons As Seismic Changes In Syndicated Daytime Talk Show Market Continue

Another daytime fixture, Dr. Phil McGraw, is leaving after more than two decades as one of television’s most popular talk show hosts. His syndicated daytime show, Dr. Phil, will end its run with original episodes with the current 2022-2023 television season, the show’s 21st.

McGraw’s decision comes as his most recent contract is coming to an end. Dr. Phil previously received a five-season renewal in 2018 as part of a mega deal extension with CBS Media Ventures, taking it through its 21st season.

It’s been a transformational year in the increasingly challenging daytime talk show landscape, with stalwarts The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Wendy Williams Show, Maury, Dr. Oz as well as The Real all ending within the past 12 months.

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CBS Media Ventures will offer stations library episodes of Dr. Phil for the 2023-2024 season and beyond. They will include new content such as wrap-arounds and intros by McGraw, as well as guest updates.

I hear the distributor is aiming to keep Dr. Phil’s prime time periods for the repeats at the same or similar price, which is facing some initial resistance from stations. CBS Media Ventures did this successfully with Judge Judy after the 2021 end of the hit court show. Repeats are airing in the same time periods in most major markets, with Judge Judy as the #4 most watched syndicated program currently, with little ratings erosion.

McGraw, the current doyen of daytime, began his TV career on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the late ’90s before headlining his own spinoff, produced by Winfrey’s Harpo Studios. Launching in September 2002, Dr. Phil was an instant hit, second in ratings only to Oprah. Following Winfrey’s departure from daytime in 2011, Dr. Phil took the crown as the most watched daytime syndicated talk show, which it kept for the past decade, only recently slipping to No.2 behind Live With Kelly & Ryan.

“I have been blessed with over 25 wonderful years in daytime television,” McGraw said. “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. 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.”

With two other daytime syndicated shows executive produced by McGraw, The Doctors and Daily Mail TV, canceled last year, his decision to end Dr. Phil marks a final exit from daytime for the popular TV personality who, alongside his daytime career, has been building a track record in primetime, executive producing two back-to-back successful CBS drama series, Bull and freshman So Help Me Todd.

In the immediate future, McGraw plans to focus on primetime programming with a new partnership, slated for an early 2024 launch.

“I am compelled to engage with a broader audience because I have grave concerns for the American family, and I am determined to help restore a clarity of purpose as well as our core values,” he said.

During its run, Dr. Phil, featuring McGraw tackling a different topic on each show and offering advice to his guests, has received 31 Emmy nominations and won five PRISM Awards for the accurate depiction of drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse and addiction, as well as a MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) Media Award.

“Phil is a valued partner and member of the CBS/King World family, and while his show may be ending after 21 years, I’m happy to say our relationship is not,” said Steve LoCascio, president of CBS Media Ventures. “Phil changed the daytime landscape as the force behind one of the most popular talk shows ever on daytime TV — 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.”


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