I think Dr Phil is cool because:
His intro clips are a powerful therapeutic agent:
Before every spot on the show, the guest-patients see themselves on a big screen in interviews, hidden camera from home, and some dramatic illustrations. They know they have a problem, they came to the show because of it, and they describe it in the clipped interviews, usually describing the distress, along with justifying causes. Still, when he asks them how it feels to see themselves like this, they suddenly own their problem, and are ready to talk about changing their behavior. I think what happens there is that people understand TV representations of life more than they can understand life. In life they are stressed and overwhelmed, and respond out of desperation without hope. Now they suddenly see this horrible person in the clip and they have a dramatic urge to reach a solution, like on TV.
He adds healthy common sense education to yellow talkshow media:
He exposes talkshows audience to material that is not only very personally intusive to other people's lives, but also has a didactic position with some healthy directions like: don't drink too much, don't hit your kids, don't let your husband hit you - the basics... The don't is not something you see on Ricky Lake..
As part of this he also phrases his advice in a catchy way. Reruns and compilation shows help make it stick. My favorites are how he phrased neglect, when he tells a husband he can keep his over-consuming hobbies as long as he has quality time with his wife: "it's not what you're doing that's the problem, it's what you're not doing!" Or when he tells a drinking mom who does not see this as substance abuse: "of course you drink because you enjoy it, but it's your kids who pick up the tab!".
Dr Phil is also uncool, and the coolness points I gave him have limitations, the main one, is that as a showman he may be looking to pass a point, over being sensitive to how it may affect his guest-patients.