After launching his syndicated daytime talk show, The Dr. Oz Show” and lost his bid for a US Senate seat in Pennsylvania, what’s next for Dr. Mehmed Oz?
The former heart surgeon-turned-Oprah protégé and Donald Trump-backed Republican nominee has a few options — to continue his political life with another run for office, to resume his medical practice as a cardiothoracic surgeon, to be a TV doctor again to become or move on to some other careers in medicine, media, or philanthropy.
But in interviews with pop culture pundits, publicists and crisis communications specialists, each path brings its own set of challenges for the 62-year-old — especially when Oz has a desire to return to a regular television role, either as a health expert or a MAGA-friendly political voice.
A representative for Oz did not respond to requests for comment.
One thing that appears to be off the table is the resumption of the syndicated daytime show he hosted for 13 years before attempting to replace retired Republican Senator Pat Toomey. “I can’t imagine that ‘The Dr. ‘Oz Show’ is restarted at this point,” Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University, told TheWrap.
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Oz’s show’s ratings began to drop towards the end of its run, and they fell even further after he identified himself as a pro-Trump Republican in 2020 before announcing his Senate nominee. His show went from an average of 1.63 million viewers in April 2020 to just 788,000 viewers in November 2021.
But he remains a recognizable face in a competitive small-screen landscape. “TV is still available to him. This is someone who has built an audience,” said Eric Schiffer, chairman and CEO of Patriarch Equity, where he provides reputation and management advice.
However, many analysts agreed that he would have toned down some of his far-right views, notably his support of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn abortion rights, in a bid to restore its appeal to a mainstream audience — particularly the female lopsided demographic that is at the core of depicts television viewers during the day.
“If he wanted to go back to television and was done with politics, he could end his conservative path,” said Schiffer. “In fact, he would be advised to do so because he wants to reach the widest audience. Why cut off 50% of your audience?”
If Oz were willing to step away from politics entirely, he might try to revitalize himself as a medical expert. (Practicing medicine is also an option, though he severed ties with Columbia University last spring, where he is now listed as professor emeritus.)
“He would need to double his previous brand,” said Nathan Miller, founder and CEO of Nathan Miller Ink., a communications strategy agency specializing in business, diplomacy, crisis management and advocacy. “Finding out what he has to say that’s relevant to people now, to people who might not agree with him politically but might be interested in what he has to say about that range of differences [health] Expenditure.”
Oz is not the first politician to ask these questions. But Ronald Reagan had retired from acting when he entered politics and left the White House at the age of 77. Action film star Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was 63 when he completed his second term as governor of California, has had small roles in films like the 2010s series Expendables.
“He’s returned to acting, to an extent, although certainly not to the same extent as before,” Thompson said. “It’s a safe way to go back and forth. This will be difficult for Dr. oz.”
Oz could benefit from the fact that people outside of Pennsylvania may have been less informed about his failed Senate campaign. “There’s still a core audience available to him,” Schiffer said. “I don’t think there will be any significant negative impact from this election, and people tend to forget that over time.”
Still, it’s hard to imagine Oprah Winfrey — who got Oz his start as a health expert on her hit daytime show but later endorsed his opponent, Democratic Senator-elect John Fetterman — returning as a producer on a new daytime show. Representatives from Winfrey and Sony Pictures Television, which circulated the show, did not respond to requests for comment.
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Of course, Oz could also be tempted to lean into his new branding as a telegenic right-wing political figure — one with a MAGA-forward identity.
“I see talk radio as a viable option right now,” Fox News contributor Joe Concha said of Oz’s potential next move.
Finding work as a political anchor or cable news commentator could, of course, be another option, although Concha noted that Oz could also branch out and launch his own platform — possibly by moving into the podcast arena.
For now, at least, Oz’s voice may not be welcomed with open arms by the right-wing media community. “The last thing conservatives want to hear right now is that Dr. Oz gives political advice,” Concha said. “I think there is some resentment that he lost such a winning race. He should have hit [Fetterman] by free touchdowns. I’m not sure if many people think of Dr. want to hear Oz after they lost, which would have been – if he had won that, the Republicans could have taken over the Senate.”
But first, Concha Oz suggested “take a break and reevaluate.” With a net worth of $200 million — maybe less after spending at least $7 million of his own money on his Senate campaign — Oz doesn’t need to return to the workforce right away.
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