Not only does The Ultimate Weight Solution by Dr. Phil McGraw jump onto our list at #1 (after little more than a week in the stores), but it knocks the reigning diet title, The South Beach Diet, off that coveted perch. (For the record, that Rodale title is marking week #23 on our lists.) Dr. Phil's three previous bestsellers—Life Strategies, Relationship Rescue and Self Matters—spent a combined total of 219 weeks on PW's hardcover and paperback charts, and have a whopping in-print total of more than 10 million. Publisher Free Press, which reports 2.5 million copies in print after nine printings, calls the latest book's launch campaign "extensive"—an understatement if ever we've heard one. Consider the following: a two-hour, Katie Couric NBC prime-time special on September 12 (simulcast to the 351 affiliates of Westwood One Radio); a six-part Today Show interview series, concluding today; a three-part interview series last week on Entertainment Tonight; a TV Guide cover story last month on the new Dr. Phil season and the book; and—some would say the ultimate in recognition—David Letterman's Top 10 list on the book's pub date (September 9): "Dr. Phil's Top 10 Weight Loss Tips." (Dr. Phil is scheduled for a full-hour Letterman appearance tonight.) On and on goes the promotion: more TV and radio, numerous newspaper and magazine features, commuter rail advertising in three major markets, the book's selection by eight book clubs, etc., etc. No doubt about it, the public is getting its Phil.
—With reporting by Dick Donahue