Media News

Dr. Phil scraps show on Britney Spears

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. television personality and psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw on Monday scrapped plans to air a show about Britney Spears after he was criticized for a visit to the troubled pop star in hospital on the weekend.

File photo shows Britney Spears driving her Mercedes Benz as she leaves the Stanley Mosk Courthouse garage after a child custody hearing with her ex-husband regarding her two sons in Los Angeles, California October 26, 2007. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

McGraw went to see Spears at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles where the 26-year-old was admitted last week in a fit of hysterics over the handover of her two young sons to her ex-husband Kevin Federline.

McGraw, who counsels people on his popular TV program “The Dr. Phil Show,” has been accused of breaching Spears’ privacy by other counselors on various media after he visited the pop star on Saturday morning just before she was released.

In an interview on the CBS network’s “The Early Show” on Monday, McGraw said he went to see Spears “at the request of her family.” He said Spears’ mother, sister and brother “were very frustrated that she apparently wasn’t going to be held (in hospital) for a longer period of time.”

McGraw said he had planned to tape a show on Monday focused not on the tabloid side of Britney’s problems, but on other issues surrounding this case.

“Clearly, it is not just Britney’s family struggling to find a way to protect adult children who cannot be ordered or compelled to seek help,” he said.

“Because the Spears situation is too intense at this time, and out of consideration to the family, I have made the decision not to move forward with the taping,” said McGraw.

He also said in a statement on his Web site,, that details of his visit "remain private,"

Spears, who spent much of 2007 in and out of alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs and battling legal problems, was hospitalized last week when she became hysterical after representatives of her ex-husband tried to pick up their sons from a weekend visit.

The pop singer was taken from her home on a stretcher, hospitalized for nearly two days under mental evaluation and finally released early Saturday morning.

While she was in the hospital on Friday, a Los Angeles family court suspended her visitation rights to her sons Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1.

Spears lost primary custody of the boys to Federline after her life spun out of control following their divorce in November 2006, her stints in rehab and reports of drinking and drug use. She is currently undergoing court-ordered random drug and alcohol tests and parenting lessons.

Spears became a teen pop phenomenon nine years ago. She made her musical comeback in October with a new single, “Gimme More,” and an album, “Blackout,” that played strongly on radio and digital download charts and briefly hit No. 2 on the U.S. pop album charts.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols, Editing by Eric Walsh