Sony: The doctor is in


Sony Pictures Television has won the bidding to syndicate “Dr. Oz” (working title), launching in the Fall of 2009. Mehmet C. Oz MD has been an audience favorite when appearing on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and his own series will be co-produced by Winfrey’s Harpo Productions.  

By going with Sony Pictures Television as co-producer and distributor, rather than CBS Television Distribution (which distributes Winfrey’s own show and the “Dr. Phil” and "Rachael Ray” spin-offs), Harpo avoids any conflict CBS Television Distribution might have had with already putting “The Doctors” (created by Dr. Phil McGraw as a spin-off from his show) on the CBS O&O stations. Sony has no station group of its own, so it has a wide open field for placing Dr. Oz in major markets.

"This is a show I believe in. Judging by the response from our viewers, Dr. Oz has already demonstrated he is a valued and trusted medical expert who has created a deep connection with our audience," said Winfrey.

"We are looking forward to partnering with Sony Pictures Television on this project. Of all the first-rate potential partners we spoke with, we felt that Sony was the best-positioned to co-produce and distribute the Dr. Oz show," added Tim Bennett, President, Harpo Productions.

"We are thrilled to be working with Oprah, Dr. Oz and everyone at Harpo on this amazing project. It’s a perfect marriage of independent, entrepreneurial companies and a wonderful opportunity for us to work with such tremendously talented people," said Steve Mosko, President, Sony Pictures Television.

Dr. Oz has earned a reputation as "America’s Doctor" through regular appearances over the past three years as the health expert for The Oprah Winfrey Show. He is professor and vice-chairman of surgery at Columbia University as well as medical director of the Integrated Medicine Center and director of the Heart Institute at New York Presbyterian/Columbia Medical Center. He is co-author of the best-selling YOU series of books. Dr. Oz is the host of the "The Dr. Oz Show" on XM Satellite Radio’s Oprah & Friends channel. He was recently named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time magazine.

"Medicine has always been my calling. This show allows me to share the same passion I bring to my patients with millions of viewers every day. We will empower the audience to live more fully as they take control of their health … and their bodies. I am deeply appreciative to Oprah and to our great partner Sony for this opportunity," said Dr. Oz.

RBR/TVBR observation: If you are of a certain age, you can remember when shows featuring a kindly, all-knowing doctor were a staple of American television – “Dr. Kildare” and “Marcus Welby MD” to name two. More recently, the scripted doctor shows have been more gritty, such as “ER” and “Gray’s Anatomy.” But the feel good doctor is still in demand, as shown by “Dr. Phil,” another Oprah find. He has quite a following for dealing with psychological/behavioral issues, while Dr. Oz is a cardiothoracic surgeon, so more likely to focus on blood and guts medicine – but in a friendly way.