Fans in some locations hoping to tune into Dr. Mehmet Oz's hit daytime talk show, The Dr. Oz Show, may be out of luck. Amid Oz's bid for Pennsylvania's open U.S. Senate seat as a Republican as Republican Sen. Pat Toomey plans to retire, the celebrity heart surgeon is set to go off the air.
The news comes from sources with direct knowledge of the situation who told TMZ just hours after Oz announced his Senate bid that The Dr. Oz Show will be pulled from the airwaves in all Pennsylvania markets, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and the capital of Harrisburg. The series will also be pulled in cities neighboring the Pennsylvania area, such as New York City, the No. 1 TV market, and at least one midwestern city. The show will remain off-air at least through Oz's Senate run and possibly longer. TMZ's sources did not provide a date for when the show will stop being broadcast in those markets, instead hinting at this occurring sometime "shortly." Broadcasts of the show in other areas of the country will continue as normal, though Oz will not be present as he hits the campaign trail. Instead, guest hosts will take his spot.
The move comes amid Oz's run for Senate and in an effort to keep things fair and equitable among all candidates vying for the spot. According to a Fox source, it boils down to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and its equal time doctrine, which requires licensed radio and television broadcasters must provide balanced air time opportunities to any opposing political candidates who request it. With Oz's show, he would have an extra hour of air time each day, and executives were reportedly concerned about providing each candidate the same amount of air time. Oz is currently running for the Senate seat against seven other Republican candidates, making it all but impossible to each an hour of air time per day.
Oz announced his run for Pennsylvania's Senate on Tuesday via an essay for The Washington Examiner, writing that "during the pandemic, I learned that when you mix politics and medicine, you get politics instead of solutions. That's why I am running for the U.S. Senate: to help fix the problems and to help us heal." Oz added that he is running for the Senate to "empower you to control your destiny, to reinvigorate our great nation, and to reignite the divine spark that we should always be seeing in each other." In a 60-second video on his campaign website, Oz said, "Pennsylvania needs a conservative who will put America first."
Oz reached national prominence thanks to his appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, which subsequently led to the launch of his own show in 2009. The series was picked up for a 13th and 14th season last year, meaning it is confirmed to run through at least the 2022-23 television season.