After five years as Oprah’s health expert, Dr. Mehmet Oz debuts his own syndicated talker, The Dr. Oz Show, today. “The mantra is playful, playful, playful,” the good doc tells us. “If it’s enjoyable, it’s a lot easier for folks to remember what they just heard. We want to answer the questions of America on health, and we want to make it easy for folks to find those answers.” Here, Dr. Oz shares more of what to expect.
1. A format consisting of three main parts: The show begins with a current issue Dr. Oz wants to put on the country’s radar. “That could be ‘why do the sexes fight?’, it could be swine flu — it’s a much louder and more newsy topic than we’ll normally have in the rest of the show,” he says. For the swine flu discussion, he called in the experts who are often asked to advise the president. “It was very touching for me,” he says, “because I saw these clinicians reveal a very personal side. One of them had a pregnant daughter — is she gonna be vaccinated? Someone in the audience who was pregnant was asking that question. It took it away from theory, and made it very real.” From there, he’ll almost always transition into a personal interest story. “If they are on the down and out, I’m gonna help them get back on their feet. If they are folks who have already bounced back, then they’ll share with me some of the tips that they were able to use, and the audience can use them as role models.” He’ll, of course, end with his popular “Ask Dr. Oz” segment, during which audience members and viewers can ask him whatever embarrassing health questions they’re too shy to ask their own doctors (but somehow feel fine posing on national TV).
2. Games! He’ll adapt games like The Newlywed Game or Let’s Make a Deal for health segments. For one on Vitamin D, he had four audience members who tested deficient (like 80 percent of Americans) choose from four boxes filled with things that would give them their dosage. “Whatever was in the box, you had to take home with you,” he says. “The first box had a heaping tower of sardines, because fish are a great source of vitamin D. The second box had two of our producers dressed as a cow — she got the costume. The third box was two dozen bottles of supplements. And the fourth box was sand. Sun is the best source of vitamin D, even if you’re gonna put sun block on. I gave her two tickets to the Caribbean.”
3. An “assistant of the day” from the studio audience. Audience members are warned from the moment they arrive at the show’s 30 Rock studio that they’ll be expected to participate — none more so than Dr. Oz’s assistant of the day. “Let’s say I’m doing irritable bowel. I’ll show her a real intestine and she has to feel it and describe it,” he says. “Afterwards, I’ll have her eat kimchi, which is a Korean food that has bacteria in it that is good because it repopulates your intestinal tract.” (Never afraid to talk about poo, he promises an episode on the subject early in his run: “First week. I can almost promise you that.”)
Do you plan on making Dr. Oz appointment TV viewing?