Dr. Phil McGraw is joining Tinseltown royalty on Friday when he gets his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Anyone surprised that the ubiquitous TV shrink doesn’t already have one can take solace in the fact that they’re not alone.
“I was shocked he hadn’t gotten a star on the Walk of Fame sooner given his prominence in television. He pops up everywhere,” Steve LoCascio, COO of CBS Television Distribution and CFO of ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group tells Variety. “He’s in the lyrics of a Bon Jovi song. He’s been on countless episodes of TV shows playing himself.”
Looking back at his long television career, McGraw admits that all roads lead back to Oprah Winfrey, who introduced him to viewers as a frequent guest on her daytime talk show.
“I often say I’m the first graduate from Oprah University,” quips McGraw, “and that’s a pretty great place to learn how to do television.”
McGraw also admits that his approach to television may be be the norm. “I had always been CEO of multiple companies, and I approach it that way, and when I came out here, I found out that talent is usually just that, they just show up and do what it is they’re supposed to do,” he explains, “whereas I approach it from the standpoint of it’s a business: Everything from what we’re doing in terms of space, what the occupancy cost is, what are we spending on this, that and the other, because I wanted to put everything on the screen.”
Churning out an hour of television each day can become a grind, and McGraw says he constantly looks at ways to keep his show fresh.
“If you take a status quo approach, you stagnate, you begin to decay,” McGraw says. “So we’ve always looked at how we can expand our footprint.”
Another secret of his success is that while he takes what he does seriously, he doesn’t take himself seriously.
“People see me engaged in very serious work, dealing with peoples’ lives and families and futures,” he says, “and while there’s a lot of humour on ‘Dr. Phil’ as well — we have fun and cut up a lot — I think it’s really important for people to see that I don’t take myself as seriously as everybody else does. I take the work I do seriously, but you need to laugh at yourself.”
In his Hollywood Walk of Fame speech, McGraw thanked Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn (a.k.a. country duo Brooks & Dunn) for joining him at the ceremony, noting that they flew from Atlanta just for the ceremony. “I’m sure you both had to hold bake sales to raise the money to get here,” he joked.
Also on hand during the ceremony were Tyler Perry and actress Kathy Bates, while McGraw sent a “shoutout” to Canadian music producer David Foster, “one of my dearest friends,” who had intended to be there but was “under the weather” and couldn’t make it.
“Today is a really special day for me. I’m just happier than a rabbit in a carrot patch,” he said.
“And when I think about this and I look down at this star, I’ve never known anybody who was a true success that was a solo,” he added, noting that the star has five points, “and I’d really like to break ’em off and share ’em with everyone who’s been so critical to my success,” beginning with wife Robin.
“We’ve done over 3,100 shows and she’s been there for every single one of them, and she is not just an observer,” said McGraw. “She is such a vital part of that show. She has always had my back.”
You can watch his speech in its entirety in the video above.