BARTOW, Fla. – As talk-show host Dr. Phil McGraw took heat for bailing out one of the girls charged in a vicious beating of a classmate, it emerged that show executives feel they were embarrassed by a low-level producer.
McGraw's executive staff sent a seasoned producer down to Florida along with a production assistant to work on the story of eight teens who allegedly beat a classmate and filmed it so they could post it on YouTube, TMZ reported.
The "Dr. Phil" show confirmed on Saturday that Mercades Nichols, one of the teens charged in the brutal attack viewed widely on national television and the Internet, was bailed out by the show on Friday night.
The Dr. Phil staffer was waiting by the jail's exit, and when Nichols walked out, he tried to block Tampa TV station camera people from getting video of Nichols and her family leaving jail, saying he had an "exclusive."
Show executives were angry that an experienced producer allowed a low-level production assistant to be in a position to embarrass the show in front of the cameras, TMZ reported.
The show issued a statement saying certain staff members "went beyond their guidelines," but the "Dr. Phil" staffers who posted bail for the girl were not hiding their affiliation with the show when they posted bail, TMZ reported.
The production assistant who flaunted his "exclusive" with Nichols outside court, along with a female producer, went to the bail bondsman and made it clear they were representing the show, sources told TMZ. They posted $3,300 bail — a judge on Friday set bails ranging from $30,000 to $37,000 for the teenagers.
The show did not post collateral for the entire $33,000 — someone not connected with the show did that, TMZ reported.
In the statement on Saturday, the Dr. Phil show said that bailing the girl out of jail was a violation of the show’s rules, and that the show would no longer go forward with the girl’s story.
"In this case, certain staff members went beyond our guidelines [re: the bail being paid]. These staff members have been spoken to and our policies reiterated. In addition, we have decided not to go forward with the story as our guidelines have been compromised," the statement read.
Only one of the eight teens accused of participating in the videotaped beating remained behind bars Sunday, after a seventh bonded out, authorities said.
Brittany Mayes, 17, was released on $33,000 bond, said Polk County Sheriff's Office spokesman Scott Wilder. Still jailed is Stephen Schumaker, 18.
The teens, the youngest of whom is 14, face kidnapping and misdemeanor battery charges for the violent beating. The state attorney's office has said the six girls and two boys will be tried as adults.
McGraw drew criticism earlier this year when he confronted troubled pop star Britney Spears at the UCLA Medical Center during a stay at the facility.
At one point, McGraw had planned an episode of the "Dr. Phil" show about Spears, but quickly abandoned the idea. He has since apologized for discussing his visit publicly — but not for visiting her.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.