Michael Weatherly is going from playing one iconic character to another. After more than a decade starring on NCIS, the actor returns to CBS to star in the new legal drama series Bull, which is based on talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw's earlier career as a trial consultant, according to TV Line. That's right — Weatherly is essentially playing character based on Dr. Phil. Photos of young Dr. Phil show that the TV doctor and Weatherly don't exactly look alike, but according to the show promos, it seems like the actor has the "tell it like it is" attitude down.
Bull premieres on Tuesday night and Weatherly stars as Dr. Jason Bull on the series, a character clearly inspired by Dr. Phil even though he doesn't share a name with the famous advice-giving doc. Bull works as a trial consultant who analyzes juries to figure out and predict how they might vote when it comes to the final verdict. Yup, this kind of company is totally legit — and based on Dr. Phil's own Courtroom Sciences, Inc. (CSI), which he founded with Gary Dobbs in 1989, according to the company's official website. CSI's website also notes that Dr. Phil hasn't been associated with them since 2002, which is when his own talk show premiered on TV.
He is, however, very much involved in Bull as executive producer, according to Yahoo TV. "He gave us about an eight-hour tutorial on trial science and how he ran his company. They handled everything from Oprah’s mad-cow case, to dozens of oil refinery cases, to flight cases," Bull executive producer Mark Goffman told Yahoo. "He’s been really terrific and involved in helping us with some of the behavioral science, as well as getting into jury selection and how to influence behavior.
These days, everyone knows Dr. Phil for his trademark mustache, but he didn't always have that — or look how he does now. Dr. Phil's website has a section called "McGraw Family Photos," which features older photos of the host himself in junior high, surfing during spring break, in the sixth grade, during his younger days with his children, and more. Some of the photos have even made the rounds on Twitter.
Check out a young Dr. Phil in sixth grade:
And below, an undated photo of the doctor himself.
For comparison, you can compare the young Dr. Phil photos to Weatherly as Bull.
Not too much of a resemblance, but looks aren't everything. McGraw told Buddy TV that he approved of Weatherly's character and performance as Bull. "It's just an absolute home run," McGraw said of Weatherly. "It's not an autobiographical, it's 'inspired by.' I like the way the show tracks how we did the right thing and tried to take the higher moral ground in these cases. We kept the moral compass. Sometimes the law doesn't always get it right."
And if it's cool with Dr. Phil, Bull just might be OK with CBS viewers, too.
Images: Jojo Whilden (2)/CBS