Michael Weatherly Calls His 'Bull' Inspiration Dr. Phil McGraw a 'Fascinating Character – He is Part Machiavelli, Part P.T. Barnum'

"I'm not actually playing Dr. Phil," says Michael Weatherly of his new role

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Michael Weatherly met Dr. Phil McGraw a few years before he signed onto play a character based on him in CBS’ new fall drama Bull.

“He is a really fascinating character,” Weatherly told PEOPLE at the CBS Primetime 2016-17 Upfront held Wednesday evening at Carnegie Hall in New York. “He is part Machiavelli, part P.T. Barnum.”

At the time of their meeting, Weatherly says he asked the daytime talk show host if he had a moment of insecurity.

“He just stared at me and said, ‘No!'” says Weatherly.

Bull is inspired by Dr. Phil’s life before he became a television personality when he founded “one of the most prolific trial consulting firms of all time,” per a CBS press release. Weatherly plays Dr. Jason Bull, an expert in human psychology who uses his skills to profile jurors, witnesses, and attorneys during trials.

There’s one thing Weatherly wants to make clear: “I’m not actually playing Dr. Phil. I’m playing a guy in a world that Dr. Phil understands better than anyone.”

Weatherly recently departed the long-running CBS drama NCIS after playing Special Agent Tony DiNozzo for 13 seasons. His last episode aired Tuesday.

Bull premieres this fall at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

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