America’s best-known television doctor Phil Mc Graw (who, according to Forbes, is the highest-paid daytime TV personality, earning $79 million last year) is under fire for reportedly providing drugs and alcohol to addicts before they come on the show (in order to up the stakes and the viewing numbers of course).
The most famous case so far has been that of ‘Survivor: China’ winner Todd Herzog who appeared on Dr. Phil’s show in 2013. According to Mr. Herzog, the show’s organizers flew him to LA for the taping and when he arrived, he was greeted by a bottle of vodka in his dressing room. On top of that, on of Dr. Phil’s staffers also gave him a Xanax to ‘calm his nerves’ before he went on. When Todd finally came onto the show, he appeared drunk and totally boozed up.
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On the show, Todd Herzog told Dr. Phil: “Today, I had an entire bottle, like a liter, of vodka.”
Looking back and thinking about how he was tricked, Mr. Herzog now regrets ever going on: “You know, I get that it’s a television show and that they want to show the pain that I’m in.”
“However, what would have happened if I died there? You know, that’s horrifying.”
Meanwhile, some of Dr. Phil’s own employees have also raised the alarm about how the guests are treated. One of the former directors, Ms Leah Rothman, filed a lawsuit against Mr McGraw and his production company in Los Angeles superior court last year, stating that the team knew they were treating guests badly just to get good ratings: “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.”
“Dr. Phil often embarrassed guests on his show in their darkest hour, leaving the staff to pick up the pieces of the broken people who had put their trust in Dr. Phil.”
McGraw’s legal team denies the allegations though, speaking of ‘one disgruntled employee’ who has had her case settled and dismissed in September of this year.