Phillip McGraw, the iconic host of Dr. Phil and the highest-paid daytime TV personality in America, is being accused of drugging the show’s guests and providing them with alcohol to boost TV ratings.
Former guests on Dr. Phil, the show in which McGraw presents himself as a savior for the addicted, detail how they were given alcohol and drugs before showtime to make their Dr. Phil interviews more ratings-friendly and profitable for the show.
The disturbing allegations were made by former Dr. Phil guests who were struggling with substance abuse at the time of their appearance on the show. STAT and the Boston Globe published the bombshell interviews on Thursday.
In the interview, former Survivor winner Todd Herzog detailed how he was provided with a bottle of Smirnoff vodka and Xanax in his dressing room at the show’s studio prior to his appearance on Dr. Phil. Herzog, who was sober for about two days before coming on the show, was encouraged to drink all of it to “calm his nerves.”
During his infamous appearance on Dr. Phil in 2013, Herzog was slurring his speech, and even had to be carried onto the set and lifted into a chair.
“I’ve never talked to a guest who was closer to death,” Dr. Phil told the studio audience after Herzog was brought on stage.
But new revelations suggest that Dr. Phil may be the one responsible for some of his guests being on the brink of death. The combination of alcohol and Xanax can be deadly, according to Dr. Maureen Boyle, an alcohol addiction expert cited in the report.
After intoxicating on vodka and Xanax in his dressing room, Herzog admitted to Dr. Phil during their on-air interaction that he had “an entire bottle, like a liter, of vodka.” Then, the show’s host breathalyzed the former Survivor winner in front of the audience. Herzog had a blood alcohol level over three times the legal limit.
Another former guest on the show, Marianne Smith, recalled a time when she was directed by a Dr. Phil producer to find heroin for her detoxing niece who struggled with heroin addiction.
One of the show’s producers, whose name Smith couldn’t recall, told her to go to Skid Row, an area of Downtown Los Angeles frequented by drug addicts, vagrants, and alcoholics, to get her niece a dose of heroin.
The producer allegedly told Smith and her niece, Jordan, to never disclose to anyone who suggested the trip to Skid Row. Jordan appeared on Dr. Phil in 2012.
Dr. Phil has been one of the most controversial TV personalities in the U.S. ever since he burst into the television industry following his appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show two decades ago.
The daytime TV host earned a whopping $79 million last year, largely thanks to his daytime show that is said to be helping rescue people from their addictions, according to Forbes.
In a 2016 lawsuit filed against Dr. Phil and his production company, a former segment director, Leah Rothman, alleged that McGraw only cared about ratings and “making money.”
“Plaintiff’s experience with Dr. Phil was that his primary interest was not about helping people on the show, but rather, done for the sake of ratings and making money,” Rothman alleged in the lawsuit, adding that the host does not shy away from embarrassing his guests in front of the entire nation.
Since the public humiliation and embarrassment happens at a time when guests are at their most vulnerable, Rothman alleges that many former guests on the show complained that their lives were “ruined” after their appearance on Dr. Phil. The report even cited a deposition from another staff member on the show, who said one guest even attempted suicide after the show.
McGraw declined to comment on the allegations, while his show’s psychologist, Martin Greenberg, defended Dr. Phil by claiming that the show has never provided alcohol or drugs to its guests, or helped them get access to drugs. Greenberg called the allegations “absolutely, unequivocally untrue,” according to the report.