‘Dr. Phil’ Spinoff in the Wings
CBS Strip May Feature ‘Bachelor’ Dr. Stork
"The Doctors," a spinoff of syndicated hit "Dr. Phil," is in active development by CBS Television Distribution.
The new syndie show will feature an ensemble of medical experts in various specialties in a round-table discussion of daily topics, a la "The View."
It’s likely that the doctors will have been regulars on "Dr. Phil." For example, one doctor being talked about for the new show is Travis Stork, M.D., who has appeared on "Dr. Phil," but is probably better known for his starring gig on ABC’s reality series "The Bachelor."
Some of the specialties of the doctors who will make up the panel include an obstetrician/gynecologist, a plastic surgeon, a therapist and a pediatrician. One of Dr. Stork’s specialties is emergency medicine.
"Dr. Phil" itself was a spinoff from CBS Television Distribution and Harpo Productions’ "The Oprah Winfrey Show," on which Dr. Phil McGraw was a regular guest. "Dr. Phil" currently ranks as the second-highest-rated talk show in syndication, just below "Oprah" at a 4.5 rating, according to Nielsen Media Research.
"The Doctors," which is its working title, is being developed by Terry Wood, president of development and creative affairs for CBS Television Distribution, and will be sold by Roger King, CEO of the company.
Harpo will not be involved in the "Doctors" project; it’s produced by Stage 29 Productions, run by Dr. McGraw and his son Jay.
"There is always potential for a successful spinoff," said Bill Carroll, VP and director of programming at Katz Media. "But with the same production team that brought you ‘Dr. Phil,’ it would have to give stations confidence that a new series would be a compelling daytime show. Right now, one of the biggest topics in the country is health and well-being, and this may be an ideal time to pursue a project that focuses on that."
He said the series likely would succeed best on a traditional station affiliate such as NBC, ABC or CBS, although Fox-owned stations also are candidates for the series.
One key time slot that could be targeted by CBS sales executives could be the 9 a.m. hour on CBS-owned WCBS-TV in New York, the nation’s largest market, which is currently running repeats of "Entertainment Tonight" and "The Insider."
Furthermore, CBS Television Distribution has triggered the first part of a deal with Ashton Kutcher’s production company Katalyst for "Tube," a comedy-meets-reality half-hour strip. The series, to be hosted by comedian Orny Adams, will feature viral videos from around the country mixed with comedy bits and sketches.
As a half-hour comedy, the series most likely would be targeting time slots occupied by stalled sitcoms in late fringe time periods from 10 p.m. to midnight, according to sources.
Katalyst, the company behind series including "Beauty and the Geek" and "Punk’d," completed a deal with CBS earlier in the year that gives the distributor a first look at projects in development.
Mr. Adams is a comedy writer and standup comic from Boston who has appeared on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" and "Late Night With David Letterman." He was the subject of the 2002 documentary feature "Comedian" with Jerry Seinfeld.
Among other new series being readied for next fall are the daytime version of NBC Universal’s "Deal or No Deal" hosted by Howie Mandel (see story, Page 6) and a talk show featuring Bonnie Hunt from Warner Bros. and Telepictures, both of which have already been sold to NBC Universal-owned stations. In addition, Twentieth Television appears to be moving forward with a talk show involving Steve Harvey.