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To fans' dismay, stations won't carry 'Dr. Phil'

Contractual commitments with other programs squeeze out McGraw, TV manager says

Dr. Phil likes to say you either get it, or you don't. Southern Oregon fans of Dr. Phil ' aka author and TV personality Phil McGraw ' don't get it. McGraw's new show, that is. No local station carries it, much to the chagrin of his admirers.

I'm shocked we can't get his show here, says Barbara Donneaud of Central Point. I'm not a big fan of daytime TV, but he's straightforward and down to earth.

Marilyn Clark of Talent calls McGraw a get-real person in the get-real world.

Donneaud says she was frustrated to find that no local TV station plans to carry the show. (Those with satellite dishes may get Dr. Phil through stations in bigger markets, however.)

KDRV-TV general manager Renard Maiuri says he's been inundated with calls from Dr. Phil fans wanting to know if the station plans to carry the syndicated program.

We're the Oprah station, he says.

Before starting his own show, McGraw broke through on Oprah Winfrey's show, where he offered advice Tuesdays in his trademark no-nonsense style.

We get calls every day, Maiuri says.

He says contractual commitments with other programs don't leave room for McGraw's program.

We had commitments before anyone knew Dr. Phil existed, he says. We'd have to wait until they expire.

McGraw was Oprah's resident expert on human behavior before launching a partnership with Harpo Productions, Paramount Television and King World, Inc., and promising a program in his trademark tell it like it is style.

McGraw's stock in trade is the usual: relationships, depression, discipline, personal finance, eating disorders and the like. Recent shows have focused on body image, runaway teens and family feuds.

Donneaud acknowledges that advice gurus are a dime a dozen but says McGraw stands out.

He's from Texas, and he has a homespun delivery, she says. He has humor. He has the kind of delivery that appeals not just to women but to men.

McGraw's career is far from homespun. He is a best-selling author and a co-founder of a courtroom litigation consulting firm. He's the author of three books that have been published in 27 languages and sold 5 million copies. He is a public speaker and a professional psychologist with numerous scholarly articles to his credit.

And now all those TV fans.

I wish we had the show, believe me, Maiuri says.

Things change, he points out, even TV schedules, but he says there's virtually no chance of KDRV airing the show within a year.

But strange things happen, he adds.

Not soon enough for Donneaud.

He may be the flavor of the moment, she says. But I really think he's worthwhile.

Dr. Phil fans in withdrawals can get in touch with him by visiting and going to the e-mail link.

Reach reporter Bill Varble at 776-4478 or e-mail