Former ‘Doctors’ co-host calls out ‘toxic’ conditions at show

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Racism allegations have rocked another CBS show. Insiders and a former host at “The Doctors” tell Page Six the environment at the syndicated daytime talk show has been so hostile, it makes working at “Ellen” look like a walk in the park.

“The whole culture is toxic. The executive producer [Patricia Ciano] constantly yells at people. She even cussed me out once. There was also always something about my hair. They were constantly making comments, and harassing me about my hair,” Dr. Rachael Ross, who co-hosted the show for three seasons, told us.

“And diversity on screen was not encouraged unless there was a weight loss story,” she added.

Multiple sources claim she often shot down pitches involving African Americans and would berate producers for pitching non-white experts.

“She’s been blatantly racist with her comments. When producers suggest Black doctors or experts, she says things like, ‘Make sure they can talk.’ And one time, someone suggested a Latino expert, and she said, ‘Make sure, no accents,’” one insider alleged.

Another source, who worked on the show, added that Ciano would have them pad Black doctors’ binders with more research than they would for other guests.

“They were called production bibles. And they always had us add more for the Black doctors and [Ciano] would pre-interview them, but never for the white doctors. It was weird. It was clear she didn’t trust their knowledge and was trying to make sure they knew what they were talking about,” the source said.

Ciano denies all of the allegations made against her.

“I am devastated by these unfounded and shocking allegations. I stand by my character and know the truth, that I have been a champion for diverse talent and inclusive stories throughout my entire career. While it is impossible to prove that I did not do something, I can absolutely say these hurtful lies are not true,” Ciano said.

Ross and several others say they complained to HR and CBS, but they believe their objections fell on deaf ears because top boss, Dr. Phil McGraw — who is the creator of “The Doctors” — is a cash cow for the company according to sources. His son, Jay McGraw, is an executive producer of “The Doctors.”

“There’s a battered and abused club, but if people complain, it ends with structured firings or resigning. Nothing happens. Patty always says nothing can happen to them because Phil makes so much money for CBS, they’ll never do anything to Phil or his son, and so far she’s been right. There’s a long list of complaints,” the insider alleged.

A source close to Dr. Phil says that although he created the show, “[he] has never been involved in the management or operation of ‘The Doctors.’”

A fifth source close to production was shocked and disgusted by the allegations against Ciano and dismissed them as disgruntled employees out for blood. “It seems to be coming from someone with a very specific gripe. They’re targeting someone they’re unhappy with and it’s disgusting. It sounds like they’re trying to get revenge,” they said.

A sixth source close to production added: “She can be a tough boss, but she’s not racist by any means.”

Meanwhile, Ross claims her contract was not renewed, and that she was iced out after she met with CBS about the alleged toxic environment.

“I told the network if you guys aren’t careful, you’re going to get touted as a really bad place for minorities to work, and they told me, they would look into my claims,” she said. “[After that], the treatment became 10 times worse. They started cutting my episodes and when we were nominated for an Emmy, they didn’t even tell me and sat me at a different table from the other co-hosts at the ceremony. I was basically forced out.”

A spokesperson for the show said: “These baseless allegations are inaccurate and untrue. Anyone who has watched ‘The Doctors’ can see the show has been inclusive since its inception. The source here hosted and contributed to the show for three years, and was succeeded by a diverse slate of co-hosts, expert contributors and guests in the years that followed. We have always been and as long as we are on the air, remain committed to featuring a representation of experienced doctors and important medical stories. A lie unchallenged becomes the truth and we absolutely refute these lies.”

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