Dr. Phil to Interview Boy at Center of Alabama Hostage Drama

Dr. Phil McGraw (Photo: Getty Images)

Dr. Phil McGraw has landed another exclusive interview with a newsmaker — the 5 year-old boy at the center of last week’s six-day hostage standoff in Alabama.

The boy, Ethan Gilman, was 5 when he was abducted about a week before his sixth birthday from a school bus at gunpoint by Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, on Jan. 29 — just after Dykes allegedly shot the bus driver to death. For six days, Dykes held the boy captive in an underground bunker while local and federal law enforcement officials tried to negotiate an end to the standoff.

Finally, a SWAT team moved in on Feb. 4, lobbing so-called “stun grenades” into the tiny 6×8-foot enclosed space, storming the room and fatally shooting Dykes. Gilman, who turned six last week, was rescued.

And now, this boy — who was so recently kidnapped, held captive and then witnessed the fatal shooting of his captor — has agreed to undergo “counseling” with America’s best-known TV therapist.

Well, it was probably the boy’s parents who agreed to the interview, which will air next Wednesday (Feb. 13) on “Dr. Phil” (check local listings).

His mother, Jennifer Kirkland, will also be on the show, according to an announcement from the show late Friday.

Various family members have been seen doing television interviews during the past week. But to our knowledge, the boy Ethan has not been interviewed by anyone — which would make this another big “get” for Dr. Phil.

McGraw’s most recent high-profile interview was the one he conducted last month with the man at the center of the Manti Te’o “dead girlfriend” hoax, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.

Our take: Though we’re sure it will make for compelling television, we predict some will question the appropriateness of this traumatized 6 year-old going on TV to talk about his experience and how he feels about it. On the other hand, mental-health professionals often say it’s healthier in the long run for traumatized individuals — particularly children — to talk openly about these things. We plan on watching the show next Wednesday to see what happens.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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