'Dr. Phil' to tackle obesity

The recurring issue of "Dr. Phil" McGraw's second season in syndication is going to be obesity, but who could have blamed him if he had chosen to focus on bullying or teasing instead? He has been like a gift-bucket of chum to TV's late-night sharks -- the butt of "Saturday Night Live" and "Mad TV" skits and endless jokes by Jay Leno and David Letterman, who has been especially pitiless with his "Dr. Phil's Words of Wisdom" moments.

McGraw is Oprah Winfrey's guru and protege. His appearances over the years on her show -- counseling guests on everything from self-image to fidelity -- were so popular that she helped him launch his own show last fall. With McGraw offering tough, terse advice to guests with personal dilemmas fit for "Maury Povich" or the soaps, "Dr. Phil" quickly became one of the biggest hits in syndication.

The second year of "Dr. Phil" will begin Sept. 15. His sense of public service being multimedia, it's also the subject of his latest book, "The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom" (Free Press), out Sept. 9.

His take on fatness promises to be provocative. "Overweight is a lifestyle issue," he said. "You have to realign and re-engineer your entire lifestyle in order to change your weight in a lasting and meaningful way. You can go on a diet for six, eight, 10 weeks. You can lose it while you're eating in an artificial sort of way, but when you stop doing that -- and you will -- you're gonna go right back to what you have always done."

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