‘Dr. Phil’ Announces Major Layoffs Ahead of Show’s Season 21

by Taylor Cunningham

Dr. Phil is overhauling his staff as he heads into his show’s 21st season. Today, a spokesperson confirmed that the series laid off 25 employees.

The majority of the people who were let go worked in production. And the series shared that it made the decision to help cut overall costs.

“Going into season 21, we streamlined production to ensure longevity,” the spokesperson told Variety. As is typical of this process, there were some roles we discovered that we could reduce yet still deliver our dynamic, forward-thinking program.”

The cutbacks come six months after several current and former employees alleged to BuzzFeed News The Dr. Phil Show environment was highly abusive.

‘Dr. Phil’ Employees Claim Behind the Scenes Abuse

According to 12 employees, people on set experienced endless verbal and emotional abuse. They also claimed that bosses ruled with fear, intimidation, and racism tactics. And seven of the employees said that people involed with the series manipulated vulnerable guests to make them more appealing and dramatic on-screen. In one instance, people in production told the employees to make sure that a particular guest didn’t take her psychiatric medication before her episode.

All but two of the people interviewed asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation.

“Everyone was just pretty miserable. You would walk into the building and there was just a palpable dread and anxiety,” a former employee shared. “Dr. Phil — the show about mental health where everybody who works on it has terrible mental health because our work conditions were really bad.”

Apparently, none of the people personally watched Dr. Phil McGraw abuse employees or guests. They directed their complaints at the executive producer and several senior-level employees. But they agreed that McGraw had to know what was happening.

Phil McGraw’s Attorney Says the Stories Are Lies

Once the story made headlines, Dr. Phil’s lawyer, Patrick Morris, defended his client. He claimed that Buzzfeed simply published a “clickbait story” to earn an audience. And he insisted that everything the employees said was false.

He also went on to say that the EP is “loved” by everyone both “personally” and “professionally.” And her “35 years” with CBS is proof of that.

Dr. Phil and our hard-working, diverse team of more than 200 proud staff, many of whom have been here for two decades, have sincerely and respectfully worked with thousands of appreciative guests,” a spokesperson said. “From the beginning, show executives have strived to create a collaborative, safe, and open environment for Dr. Phil McGraw and all staff and guests. We are grateful for the overwhelming number of proud, dedicated colleagues who have helped achieve our sustained success through 20 seasons of the program with many more to come.”