Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

What's Up, Dr. Phil? Oprah Winfrey's Pal Dr. Phil McGraw Insists He's More Open-Minded on Gay Issues Than His Daytime-TV Predecessor, Dr. Laura. (Fall TV Preview)

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

What's Up, Dr. Phil? Oprah Winfrey's Pal Dr. Phil McGraw Insists He's More Open-Minded on Gay Issues Than His Daytime-TV Predecessor, Dr. Laura. (Fall TV Preview)

Article excerpt

Oprah Winfrey's favorite relationship guru gets his own talk show this fall, courtesy of her production company and Paramount TV. But while Dr. Phillip McGraw shares a title with Dr. Laura Schlessinger--unlike Schlessinger, McGraw is actually qualified to dispense advice, thanks to a degree in psychology from North Texas State University--his heart is clearly in a different place when it comes to gay and lesbian relationships.

Dr. Phil--whose blunt confrontations and unsparing assessments on Oprah often move couples to tears--is in the midst of taping "practice" shows before his solo show debuts in September. He says the shows are going so well, they might even air as original episodes.

But how will those shows deal with gays and lesbians? Does Dr. Phil get it? Will gays and lesbians be invisible, as has usually been the case in his Tuesday segments on Oprah?

"It hasn't come up too much on Oprah, but gays and lesbians face the same issues everyone else does," says Dr. Phil. "And, hopefully, they'll be a part of the show in general. I fully expect and intend for that to happen."

So while every segment could conceivably involve a queer couple or individual, what about segments dealing specifically with GLBT concerns and problems? "We'll focus on their issues in particular," promises Dr. Phil, though no such segments are as yet scheduled. When asked if Paramount vetted him to make sure Dr. Phil falls within the mainstream on gay issues (surely they wouldn't make the same mistakes they made with Dr. Laura), he tacitly agrees they were no fools: They combed through his professional records, public statements, books, and so on to see where he stood on all sorts of topics. …

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