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Passion Propels ‘Doctors’ Producer

Jan 20, 2008  •  Post A Comment

When Jay McGraw conceived of upcoming syndicated medical talk show “The Doctors,” he turned to the one person his father, Dr. Phil McGraw, had always counted on to ensure the new strip would be a hit: “Dr. Phil” executive producer Carla Pennington.
“When you have the opportunity to sit down with someone like Carla, work with her and pick her brain, it’s an amazing opportunity,” said Jay McGraw, executive producer of “The Doctors.”
“She makes producing look effortless, from managing a large staff to telling stories in a way you have to be sensitive about, to presenting a show with conflict without it being a conflict show. As an executive producer, it’s like having a basketball team and having Michael Jordan come down and show everybody what to do.”
Ms. Pennington, who has guided CBS Television Distribution hit “Dr. Phil” to second place among all talk shows in syndication, is executive consultant for the new series, which is cleared in 95% of the country.
“When Jay brought along the concept for ‘The Doctors,’ I was not only excited about the idea, because we have the perfect platform on ‘Dr. Phil’ to introduce the concept, but it was also a tremendous opportunity for me because I would be able to do what I do on a daily basis as well as do something else that I have a passion for,” she said.
Ms. Pennington has overseen all aspects of “Dr. Phil’s” production since its inception in spring 2001, including the development of the strip’s signature themes, such as “The Dr. Phil House,” “The Ultimate Weight-Loss Challenge,” “The Dr. Phil Families,” “Relationship Rescue Retreat” and “Anatomy of a Divorce.”
Prior to “Dr. Phil,” Ms. Pennington was co-executive producer for “Entertainment Tonight Weekend,” where she oversaw the show’s production. She also worked as a segment producer on “Hard Copy” and was Los Angeles bureau chief for the national version of “PM Magazine.”
“We are known for always going to use our home-grown talent for our new series,” said Terry Wood, president of creative affairs and development for CBS Television Distribution. “We used that formula with ‘Dr Phil,’ ‘The Insider,’ ‘Rachael Ray’ and now ‘The Doctors.’ By being trained within our system, there is a continuation of our formula, and we go with people we know can produce our kind of television. Carla is the perfect example of this, and now we are incubating ‘The Doctors’ within ‘Dr. Phil.’”
Ms. Pennington noted that each of the “Doctors” cast members will make regular appearances on “Dr. Phil,” with those appearances increasing to two to three times a month for the rest of the season.
“I just have a passion for the topics and telling compelling stories in an entertaining way,” she said. “I can’t keep my opinions to myself, I’m always sharing them, and now ‘The Doctors’ gives me an endless amount of material to cover.”

7 Comments

  1. Do you do an extreme back ground on the docotrs you are promoting on your show. You don’t want another incident like Jan Adams not being board certified. You should see if your doctors have ever lost their license in another state. for example one doctor had his licensed revoke for someone dying in the operating room in NY. You need to have some sort of responsibility and do back ground checks on your doctors that you will be focusing. I heard you have a Dr on your show that lets his PA finish up procedures such as finishing up the sewing on face lifts and even doing liposuction,

  2. Oops I forgot to mention its one of the Doctor that you are focusing on your show that had lost his license to practice in NY

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