Yesterday (10/5), the Dr. Phil Show taped a show with three segments relating in some way to youth and sexual orientation. I first learned of the planned taping via colleague Floyd Godfrey. Floyd was called by the producer of the show looking for people who were ex-gay and willing to talk about it. I suggested several people as did Floyd. Eventually, David Kyle Foster was chosen to appear on the show.
Prior to the taping I learned from reading ex-gay watch that the Dr Phil Show collaborated with GLAAD to “fill the audience with GLAAD supporters and allies.” Not wanting to report a rumor, I called the Dr. Phil show and asked Gaylon (an assistant producer) and Tomiko, the audience wrangler referred to below. Gaylon told me that information was confidential and he passed me off to the head producer’s voice mail (who has yet to return the call). Tomiko initially confirmed the arrangement but said there was no article on the Internet saying that it was just a notice. When she understood that I would be doing an article on the matter, she said I would have to talk to the producer.
A GLAAD representative denied any news release about the event or arrangement.
I am aware, however, that people got seats by mentioning the GLAAD solicitation.
Below is the call for assistance from Ex-gay watch:
This Wednesday, 10/5, the Dr. Phil show will be taping an episode tentatively called “Hope to Heal Your Gay Teen?” Obviously the subject matter could be problematic, and GLAAD is currently working with them on how they approach the material.
They have offered to fill the audience with GLAAD supporters and allies. If you are able to attend, that would be great. They are holding “special guest” seats for those who are on the list and say they are calling because of GLAAD (otherwise you’ll find yourself waiting in a space available line of people who they scoop up on Hollywood Blvd.).
Also, please forward this to your friends to get as many LGBT supporters in the audience as possible.
To attend the show, call Dr. Phil’s audience wrangler, Tomiko, at 323.956.3426. You + 4 guests may attend, but you have to provide all names when you call. TELL TOMIKO YOU ARE CALLING BECAUSE OF GLAAD. DEADLINE TO CALL IS 8pm ON TUESDAY.
You must arrive no later than 8:00 am Wednesday. Expect to stay until noon.
Taping is at Paramount Studios:860 North Gower StreetHollywood, CA 90038
Park in the parking structure across the street.
Go through the audience entrance, which is underneath a giant blue whale painting.
You must wear business attire and dress in dark solid colors.
Thank you and we hope to see you all there!
Leadership Council Officer, GLAAD
An eye witness account of the taping that I received indicated that the show was pretty fair to all sides. The audience was not much of a factor according to the account I read. There was a segment involving a lesbian teen who was advised by Dr. Phil to not overemphasize sexuality in her identity. Then a segment with David Kyle Foster and someone from Gaychristian.net was centered around religious differences. Finally, a couple with a gender confused child was taped. The show will air October 19.
So my question is: Why are GLAAD and the Dr Phil Show treating this like a state secret? No one at the show denied the link and there are witnesses to the fact that the show gave preferential treatment to those calling from GLAAD. However, the people I talked with backpedalled mightily when I asked about it. And why would GLAAD want to deny this?
My view is that such arrangements would be ok if all sides were invited to request a given number of seats but to do an undercover deal looks like a setup and an attempt to manipulate the opinion of the home viewer. Now I realize “wrasslin’ aint real” but I was surprised to see audience manipulation at the Dr. Phil show.
Addendum: David Kyle Foster relates that the air date will be October 19th.