Phil McGraw, the host of the popular syndicated daytime TV talkshow Dr. Phil, is one of the highest-paid television hosts. The show has been on for 16 seasons and over 2,000 episodes have aired since 2002.
McGraw was introduced to television audiences through Oprah Winfrey. The two met while he was working at Courtroom Sciences, Inc. (CSI), a trial consulting firm. McGraw first appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1998 and continued appearing on the show until it ended in 2011. In 2002, his solo spin-off show began and he’s been hosting it ever since.
McGraw is also a producer on CBS’ Bull, which he co-created with Paul Attanasio. The series stars Michael Weatherly as Dr. Jason Bull and is loosely based on McGraw’s experience at CSI.
The 66-year-old McGraw is married to Robin McGraw. The two have been married since 1976 and are parents to sons Jay and Jordan. He was previously married to Debbie Higgins McCall from 1970 until 1973.
Here’s what you need to know about McGraw’s money and his financial ventures.
1. McGraw Has an Estimated Net Worth of $400 Million
McGraw has an estimated net worth of $400 million, Celebrity Net Worth estimates.
The television personality was born in Vinta, Oklahoma and attended Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, where he earned a B.A. in psychology in 1975. He earned and M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of North Texas. He was a practicing psychologist until 1990, when he co-founded Courtroom Sciences, Inc. (CSI) with lawyer Gary Dobbs. CSI is still in business, but McGraw is no longer involved.
While working at CSI, McGraw first met Winfrey, who identified him as a possible TV star, in 1996. At the time, Winfrey was sued by beef makers in Amarillo, Texas under the “False Disparagement of Perishable Food Products Act of 1995” in the Lone Stat State. The plaintiffs claimed that disparaging remarks by Winfrey and a guest on her show sent beef sales into a tailspin after she did an episode on Mad Cow Disease. In February 1998, the jury sided with Winfrey.
After the case, McGraw began regularly appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show. He then published his first book, Life Strategies, and found himself on the road to TV stardom.
In a 2000 interview with CNN, McGraw gave Winfrey credit for him finding a higher calling. She offered him a chance to get his messages out to the widest possible audiences.
“She really brought that back to me and said tell you what, you don’t like pecking at this from where you’ve been,” McGraw told CNN in 2000. “Let me share with you a platform where you speak to millions of people every time you open your mouth and if you can’t make a difference from there, that’s your own fault. And I took that challenge and I feel real good about what we’re doing.”
2. He’s The Highest-Paid TV Host, Earning $79 Million a Year
Although McGraw ranked as the 15th-highest paid entertainer on Forbes’ 2017 list, he is the highest-paid TV host, even out-earning Ellen DeGeneres. According to Forbes, he earns an estimated $79 million a year. The magazine reports that McGraw signed a deal that gets him a cut of the show’s ad and product placement revenue.
He also has fantastic job security. Back in October 2015, Deadline reported that McGraw signed a contract extension with CBS TV Distribution to keep his show on the air until 2020.
“Dr. Phil is the leading voice in daytime television and he’s made his show an important platform to discuss issues our viewers are struggling with every day,” Armando Nuñez, president and CEO of CBS Global Distribution Group, said in a statement. “He truly is one of a kind.”
McGraw is also an executive producer on CBS TV Distribution’s The Doctors.
3. He Settled a Lawsuit Over His Weight Loss Diet Plan for $10.5 Million in 2006
In 2003, McGraw decided to try his hand at selling weight loss products and pushing diets on his show. The products were marketed under the name “Shape It Up, Woo, Woo!” Critics thought the idea was ridiculous, since McGraw has no experience as a physician. As The New York Times notes, the critics pointed out that these products included “Dr.” in front of his name, which could lead people to believe that he has an expertise in weight loss.
Less than a year after the products hit the market, the Federal Trade Commission started an investigation. In March 2004, McGraw and the makers of the products decided to pull it from store shelves.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. In 2004, three customers filed a class action lawsuit against McGraw, alleging he defrauded viewers and made false statements. Although McGraw fought the claims, The Associated Press reported in September 2006 that he reached a $10.5 million settlement. The plaintiffs’ lawyer said they would receive $4.5 million in cash and $6 million worth of Nutrilite vitamins.
Despite his experience with the “Shape up!” products, McGraw still published a book with a new diet in 2015. He released The 20/20 Diet: Turn Your Weight Loss Vision Into Reality, in which he “identiﬁes seven reasons other diets fail people over and over again: hunger, cravings, feeling of restriction, impracticality and expense, boredom, temptations, and disappointing results or plateaus.” He even released a companion app to go with the book.
4. He Established the Dr. Phil Foundation in 2003 to Fight Childhood Obesity
Back in 2003, McGraw and his wife Robin McGraw announced the launch of The Dr. Phil Foundation. The initial goal was to fight childhood obesity in the U.S. and helping other organizations with the same goal.
“The prevalence of childhood obesity has more than doubled what it was just a generation ago. Now, nearly thirty-five percent of children are obese and seventy percent of those children will be obese as adults. We are beginning to see disorders such as diabetes, essential hypertension and osteoarthritis expressing and manifesting at much higher rates among children than ever before, all associated with obesity,” McGraw said in a statement at the time. “The good news is that with the proper education and research, much of this is preventable. As a regular contributor to many charities, I am excited to create the Dr. Phil Foundation specifically dedicated to a cause that I am passionate about on a personal and professional level – the obesity crisis in America.”
Robin also founded When Georgia Smiled: The Robin McGraw Revelation Foundation, which creates and supports programs for victims of domestic violence.
5. He Spent $29.5 Million on a Beverly Hills House With 5 Bedrooms & 11 Bathrooms in Beverly Hills
In July 2010, The Wall Street Journal reported that McGraw bought a $29.5 million estate in Beverly Hills that covers three acres. The main house covers 14,000 square feet and has five bedrooms and 11 bathrooms (nine full and two halfs). It also includes a guesthouse and a pool.
McGraw bought the house after listing his previous home for $16.5 million. That house covered 11,036 square feet and has eight bedrooms and seven bathrooms.
In December 2016, McGraw and his wife shared photos of their new house with The Daily Mail to show off their annual tradition of decking the entire house with Christmas decorations. Robin McGraw spends hours putting the decorations together, while McGraw doesn’t get in the way.
“I’m kind of like the Elf on the Shelf. I’ll come through and move one of her decorations through the night to see if she notices the next morning,” McGraw told the Daily Mail. “I’m telling you, you move something a quarter of an inch she’ll see it and put it back to where she wants it to be.”