Another treatment hustle?


A new story suggests that Dr. Phil may be in on the hustle:

A STAT/Boston Globe investigation shows how some carefully placed promotions are also a financial opportunity for a new business venture involving the show’s host, Phillip McGraw, and his son, Jay.

An addiction recovery program the McGraws launched this year comes with an enticing offer: Buy their self-help video product and you could land a valuable spot on the top-rated “Dr. Phil” show.

. . .

The McGraws’ addiction recovery program is a series of virtual reality scenarios starring Dr. Phil. Called “Dr. Phil’s Path to Recovery,” it has been offered to treatment centers at monthly rates ranging from $3,500 to $7,000.

In addition to appearing on “Dr. Phil,” centers that buy the product have been featured on “The Doctors,” a program owned by the production company founded by McGraw and his son.

The appearances by operators buying into the new product is not an accident, said Jim Shriner, the vice president of sales for Path to Recovery, according to one potential customer who spoke with him and shared details of the conversation. Shriner didn’t comment when contacted by a reporter.

Participating treatment centers, Shriner said to the customer, are used by “Dr. Phil” and “The Doctors” as a “go-to resource” for drug and alcohol rehab. That means that when either show does an episode on addiction, participating operators could get a call asking them to fly out to Los Angeles and sponsor a guest’s treatment — unbeatable advertising.

“Our job is to get your phones to ring, and the admissions hopefully follow,” Shriner told the customer. He also boasted that viewers of “Dr. Phil” and “The Doctors” are an attractive demographic: older, high-income people who make treatment decisions for family members and “not the addict calling because I told my mom I’d do it.”

Read the whole story.

The show denies these claims. The writers counter with some numbers of programs mentioned on the show.

In addition, the writers describe the disturbing background of one of the programs mentioned on the show.

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