Posted by: bobroth | January 20, 2010

Dr. Oz Tapes His TV Show

Part One: Here I Sit (The Preamble)

Way back in the early 1990s, my Mom announced that, for her 75th birthday, she would like to travel to Chicago from Fairfield, Iowa, where she was living and tutoring little kids through Head Start, and see a Chicago Bulls game starring the all-universe Michael Jordon and then be an audience member for an Oprah Show.

That was her birthday wish.

Cool, I thought.

I called some friends who knew some friends whose brother-in-law (or somebody) worked for Harpo Productions and we got tickets. Then, feeling heady with success, I called the Bulls ticket office and somehow got two nose-bleed seats to the premium attraction Bulls-LA Lakers game. (To this day, I have no idea how I got that lucky. But the truth is, it was Mom.)

Two days later, we caught an Amtrak train in nearby Mount Pleasant (I know how familiar the names of these town must be to you) and settled in for a four-hour shoot up to Chicago. Then we got a cab, weaved through traffic to the hotel, unloaded our luggage, and headed over to see Michael “play” for Mom. He certainly didn’t disappoint her, 45 points as I recall, and the Bulls won easily. The next day, audience tickets in hand, we stood at the back of the line, shivering in the cold for an hour before the doors opened wide to Oprah’s studio. We were directed to the back, back, back, back row of the bleacher seats, and waited and waited and waited. They kept it secret who Oprah’s guest would be until last minute, to build the suspense.

It worked.

Oh, my. It was Tina Turner. And oh, man, did she kick.

Birthday Mom was swaying and bouncing and shaking it. (I should say, my mom was not an afternoon talk-show groupie. Walk into her bedroom when the TV was on and it was most likely CSPAN—she loved those long senatorial addresses to an empty chamber—or the San Francisco 49ers, if it was football season. But she didn’t much go for the talkie-talkie shows.

Gotta say though, Oprah and Tina were really great. The emotion in the studio was explosive, lots of standing O’s. Genuine and authentic. Mom had her birthday wish fulfilled plus.

I say all this as a preamble to my experience yesterday, which was to attend, as the guest of Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the “Dr. Oz Show” (and former attending physician on the Oprah Show), the taping of his top-rated afternoon doctor show that gets broadcast every day pretty much everywhere in America.

I met Dr. Oz when David Lynch was a guest on his satellite radio show back in April. It was a lovely, fun interview about meditation and David’s foundation, and David and Dr Oz became fast friends. Three days later, David’s foundation hosted a big benefit concert with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr (and Donovan, Sheryl Crow, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, Moby, Bettye LaVette, Paul Horn, Jim James, and half of Manhattan) at Radio City Music Hall.

Dr Oz and his family came. And loved it. Everyone became even faster friends. The Oz’s got interested in what David was doing, and good things started to happen.

Now fast-forward to January 19. It’s a cold, blustery, wintery day outside. Thankfully, I am inside so I am warm. It’s 9:30 am, and I am sitting where I was told to sit: in a chair, behind a camera (thankfully, it is on wheels), in Dr. Oz’s studio, which is in the NBC Building, across the street from the Rockefeller Center, in midtown Manhattan. In previous incarnations and decorations, Dr. Oz’s studio was home to Conan O’Brien and David Letterman.

It is rehearsal time. Dr. Oz is working through the first of two shows he will tape today. With producers and directors and audio guys and stagehands on hand, he is blocking out who will stand where and say what to whom.

It is 30 minutes before tape time, so the audience has not filed in yet. The air is focused, but also relaxed, informal, joking. I can still think. The blasting, thumping, skull cracking, get-the-audience-ramped-up-to-meth-amphetamine-levels music has yet to start…



  1. and then….what happened??

  2. What a great story. I happened to be flipping channels over the holidays in between turns at playing Scrabble with my family, and lo and behold, for that exact 15 seconds I stopped at Dr. Oz’s show, he was talking about Transcendental Meditation as a solution for psoriasis, a tricky condition to manage that is influenced by stress.

  3. […] to write more about my visit to the taping of Dr Mehmet Oz’s top rated television show (fittingly named: “The Dr. Oz Show”). I got busy and just didn’t do it… Sorry. But if I go again, I promise to jot down more […]

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