​Dr. Phil tells it to you straight


Phil McGraw, the therapist who preaches common sense advice, says his TV show, "Dr. Phil," saves lives.

CBS News

Forget the old saying that "The doctor is in." When it comes to one Ph.D. in psychology, it's more accurate to say THE DOCTOR IS ON ... on TV, that is. Tracy Smith profiles Dr. Phil:

After 14 seasons, the "Dr. Phil" show ("a safe place to talk about hard things") is still going great, fueled by enthusiastic audiences, an endless parade of troubled guests, and a host who knows how to put on a show.

"Somebody asked me one time, 'Dr. Phil, isn't what you do, a lot of it, just entertainment?' Clearly an attempt to be insulting. And my answer was, 'My God, I hope so!'" he told Smith. "If it isn't, they won't watch."

"You were drunk in a bar at 1:30 in the morning, fighting with a cop. That is not good mothering!"

"So, how much is doctor, and how much is showman?"

"It's one and the same. I mean, you don't have to be boring to be a doctor!"

And though Phil McGraw is not a medical doctor, he does have a Ph.D. in psychology, saw patients, and was a licensed psychologist for many years.

Phil McGraw and his wife, Robin, with correspondent Tracy Smith. CBS News

When asked what kind of therapist he was, McGraw replied, "I was very direct, just as I am now. I mean, I would tell people, 'Look, I can talk to you every week for six months, and tell you what I think at the end. Or I can just tell you right now.' You know, there was some guy in there, there was some arrogant a*****e with his wife. It doesn't take me six months to tell you that; I'll tell you today."

"Why in the hell did you, would you ever agree for your wife to become an escort?"

"And this really was the seed of the 'Dr. Phil' show, if you think about it," said Smith. "It's the same thing you're doing now."

"Well, you know, come on. Common sense is not common enough, is it?"

Phil McGraw first came to national attention in 1998 when, as a courtroom psychologist, he helped Oprah Winfrey win a lawsuit by Texas cattlemen.

Smith asked, "When you first went on 'Oprah,' did people immediately take to the tell-it-like-it-is Phil way?"

"Some took to it and thought, 'Wow, this guy is absolutely the second coming of common sense.' And some thought, 'This guy is an absolutely barbarian.' I agreed with both of them! I'm not for everybody. That's why you got a remote control."