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The Dr. Phil show has begun production for its 21st season with 25 fewer staffers following a layoff.

“Going into season 21, we streamlined production to ensure longevity," a spokesperson said. "As is typical of this process there were some roles we discovered that we could reduce yet still deliver our dynamic, forward-thinking program.


This comes after a dozen current and former employees of Dr. Phil reportedly claimed verbal abuse, fear, intimidation, and racism were happening behind the scenes of the production. It is unclear if the same employees who made the complaints faced layoffs.


Talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw speaks during a ceremony awarding him with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

Phil McGraw got his start on television after appearing as a regular guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show. His own program was recently renewed through May 2023, and the season premieres on Sept. 12.


Taping began on Monday on the Paramount Pictures lot in Los Angeles, California.

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Val Chmerkovskiy Reveals Which DWTS Judge Is the Most Challenging

ABC Val Chmerkovskiy and Gabby Windey

“Dancing With the Stars” professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy finds one just more intimidating than the others.

The professional dancer, who is partnered with former “Bachelorette” Gabby Windey, has found himself at the top of the leaderboard for both episodes of “Dancing With the Stars” season 31 that have aired so far this season, but that doesn’t mean he thinks the judges are going easy on them.

For many dancers, Len Goodman, 78, who has been a judge on the show since the beginning and is a former ballroom competition judge, is the most intimidating, but that’s not the case for Chmerkovskiy.

Goodman sits on the panel with Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and Derek Hough.

Chmerkovskiy Doesn’t Find Len Goodman Intimidating

In an interview with Us Weekly, Chmerkovskiy revealed that he doesn’t think Goodman is the most intimidating judge.

“We have such a different relationship with the judges than I think people think we do, you know?” Chmerkovskiy told the outlet. “The most intimidating … obviously, the answer [for others] is Len because Len is, you know, he’s kind of no-nonsense. With Len, I don’t find him intimidating because I navigate in his lane.”

Chmerkovskiy added that he’d love to have a table full of Goodmans.

“For me, I think that the most challenging judge out there would probably be Carrie Ann just because she kind of gravitates in the department and the lane that I’m not really [great at],” Chmerkovskiy shared. “I mean, I’m good at [that] as well, but I think as a female adjudicator, me being partnered with female celebs, you know, that that could be a more intimidating perspective to perform in front of.”

Chmerkovskiy returned to the ballroom for season 31, but his pregnant wife, Jenna Johnson, did not. That doesn’t mean she isn’t involved in his season, however.

“That’s the game changer, you know, when you get married, that becomes a part of your life, and having Jenna by my side – and Jenna loves Gabby, by the way, she loves Gabby,” Chmerkovskiy told ET Online after the premiere.

Windey added, “We love each other, me and Jenna. I wish we could be partners.”

The partnership is working, as the two have found themselves at the top of the leaderboard multiple times.

“I think we feel good,” Windey told the outlet. “I don’t know. Happy to be here, obviously… I have a really great teacher and partner.”

Chmerkovskiy added, “I’m excited to be part of this show, you know? I’ve been on this show for 12 years now and I’m excited to have a partner and that gives me a chance to dance and gives me a chance to go all the way. I really believe in this partnership. I’m grateful for her work ethic, her attitude, and her fan base.”

Cheryl Burke Also Feels Goodman is Not Intimidating

Cheryl Burke, who is the longest-tenured “Dancing With the Stars” professional dancer having danced on over 25 seasons of the show, shared with Us Weekly that she does not find Goodman to be the most challenging or intimidating judge either.

“I get along with all of the ‘Dancing With the Stars’ judges, but Len Goodman is my favorite because he was an actual ballroom judge prior to ‘DWTS’ and knows his s***,” Burke told the outlet.

“Dancing With the Stars” airs on Mondays at 8 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m. Pacific on Disney+.

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