11:30 AM PT: Sources close to Dr. Phil tell us, CBS is responsible for paying the staff for the 2 week holiday. We're told Phil has zero employees and he does not issue payments to anyone.
Our sources say the $500 cards given to the staff are a gift from Phil and his wife and are given as a holiday gift. We're told the gift card was not a move to replace the canceled hiatus pay.
Dr. Phil McGraw may think of himself as Father Christmas during the holidays, however, his television staff sees him this year more like The Grinch after the talk show star sent everyone home for the holidays with a last minute gift — no paycheck.
Multiple sources on "Dr. Phil" show tell The Blast the heads of each department were verbally told this week to inform staff that they would not be paid over the annual two-week hiatus.
Hiatus is common in the entertainment industry, and during the end of the year, many shows temporarily shut down. Collecting a paycheck during hiatus is also discretionary depending on what production decides. However, we're told Dr. Phil, generously for the last 15 years, has made it a regular practice to ensure his staff is compensated during the holidays to prevent them from missing multiple paychecks.
We're told many veterans on the staff have come to depend on the end-of-the-year checks. This year, our sources say it was a budgetary decision to cut the checks and instead issue $500 gift cards to the staff that could be used anywhere as cash. We're told the employees were extremely upset.
Sources tell us multiple staffers were floored after planning holiday trips and planning budgets that factored in the expected payments and having the rug pulled out from underneath them days before Christmas was shocking.
One staffer went so far as to send a VERY strongly worded email, obtained by The Blast, to Dr. Phil and his wife Robin McGraw, sarcastically thanking them for the gift card and speaking on behalf of the staff by letting the boss know "everyone is so fu**ed off," for getting the cash cut last minute.
Sources tell us some of the real disdain arose because Dr. Phil was recently announced on the annual Forbes list of top TV earners, and pulled in a reported $77,500,000 last year.
Dr. Phil and Robin also recently taped a holiday segment showing off their elaborate Christmas decorations, including a 15 ft gingerbread house. They also took time to hawk the Robin McGraw Revelation Holiday Gift Box, which is still offering expedited shipping and is being sold for $120.
It's unclear if employees get a discount on the holiday box, but at least it wasn't a Jelly of the Month membership.
The Blast reached out to Dr. Phil and the show for comment — so far, no word back.