Why This Matters: Established shows remain important to TV stations as it gets harder to launch new programs.
Sony Pictures Television’s The Dr. Oz Show has been renewed on the Fox- and Hearst Television-owned station groups through seasons 11 and 12, said John Weiser, president, distribution, Sony Pictures Television. That renewal will take the show through its landmark 10th season, which starts in September, through the 2020-21 season.
“This renewal definitely catapults this show into really rare air,” said Weiser. “That the stations have renewed The Dr. Oz Show for seasons 11 and 12 sends a clear message to the creative community in terms of our top production staff, guests and advertisers that we are here to stay.”
Besides the renewals, Dr. Oz also is getting upgraded next season in Detroit and Miami.
Nationally, Dr. Oz is down a bit in ratings, dropping 12% to a 1.1 in households season to date from a 1.2 last year at this time, although the show is essentially flat year to year at a 0.5 among daytime’s key demographic of women 25-54, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Frank Cicha, senior VP of programming, Fox Television Stations, said Dr. Oz has “performed reasonably well for us this year. We’ve seen increases in its ratings in big markets and that’s been good. That may have come out of the fact that they have evolved the show. It appears to be less clinical and less procedural.”
On Hearst-owned stations, Dr. Oz is a “perfect brand fit for us,” Emerson Coleman, senior VP of programming, said. “The show occupies a really unique position in daytime television. It’s trying to make a difference through its informative talk format.”
Over the past year, Dr. Oz has introduced some new features to the show that takes it beyond the health, wellness and medical segments on which the show has built its foundation.
For example, on True Crime Tuesdays, the show’s host, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and its crime correspondent, Melissa Moore, daughter of Keith Jesperson, the so-called Happy Face serial killer, dig into cases that have been pulled straight from the headlines.
For the upcoming May sweep, Oz and Moore traveled to West Virginia to meet with the extended family of David and Louise Turpin, who were arrested after holding captive their 13 children aged 2 to 29. Some of the family members — such as Louise’s sister, Elizabeth Flores, and her cousin, Trisha Andreassen — already have appeared on the show.
The show also looked into the case of Jennifer and Sarah Hart, who had adopted several children, all of whom were found dead after Jennifer drove the family SUV off a cliff in California.
Oz also continues to do exclusive interviews with celebrities, often on topics around their health or mental well-being. Will & Grace’s Sean Hayes was a recent guest, as was Rose McGowan, who discussed her memoir, Brave, about being sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein and other men as she tried to build a career as an actress.
“I think Oz’s greatest growth since we’ve been on the air is in being a listener,” said Dr. Oz executive producer Amy Chiaro. “That’s the place where he has been able to stop, get into the moment and follow up on the clues that people are giving him, which is also, incidentally, what a great doctor does.”
Making Station House Calls
Oz became a daytime TV star after having already had a successful career as a cardio-thoracic surgeon and then breaking out on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2004. Sony Pictures Television, in partnership with Winfrey’s Harpo Productions, launched Dr. Oz into syndication in 2009. “Dr. Oz is the hardest working talent in show business,” said Weiser. “There is no other talent in syndication who travels to as many local markets.”
For the past six years, Oz has made an annual trip to Hearst-owned WPBF Palm Beach, Fla., where he stages a live version of his talk show for local audiences. Some 10,000 people show up for the event, lining up as early as 4 a.m. for the 10 a.m. appearance by Oz and the station’s morning anchor team.
“Dr. Oz is truly a marketing wizard; he’s not your typical talent,” said Caroline Taplett, general manager of WPBF. “I think he really gets the organic connection between the audience and himself. He will shake hands and kiss babies and do it one person at a time. He completely understands the connection of the local affiliate and how that can elevate his platform.”