Since September 2002, Phil McGraw has tackled tough issues along with guests and visiting professionals on his eponymous "Dr. Phil Show." The widely ranging topics on the show include everything from alcoholism and other substance abuse to rebellious teenagers and bad parenting. Now entering its tenth season, the show's ratings have been decreasing yearly since 2007. In June of this year, it ranked twenty-third among syndicated programs in the United States.
The Dr. Phil Show uses a familiar format. Dr. Phil comes onstage and announces the topic of that particular show. He then expounds briefly on the topic and sometimes asks a few questions of any visiting professional of whom he asks an opinion. He then either introduces the guest, or guests, directly or by way of a video vignette. Sometimes, he uses both. The vignettes generally portray a series of events in the lives of the guests, with the events relevant to the topic of the show. They also generally include recorded interview segments with the guests. He then interviews the guests face to face and asks their feelings, reactions, and ideas regarding the topic of both the video and the show and how it affects the guests themselves. If there are two sides to any conflict, Dr. Phil presents both sides.
Dr. Phil then usually asks for further comment from any visiting professionals regarding the guests' specific problems and segues into another video vignette most of the time. If there are multiple guests, or groups of guests, Dr. Phil gives them all equal time. He continues the process until the end of the show, when he walks offstage with his wife Robin as the theme song plays.
Dr. Phil occasionally takes on a long term project that plays out over a whole season, and sometimes beyond. He chooses a "Dr. Phil Family" and selects topics for a series of shows that relate to the family and its dynamics. He attempts to work with the family and solve the underlying problems causing the faulty dynamics that led him to choose the family in the first place. So far, he has done this twice, with middling results despite his best efforts.