What Happens to The Dr. Oz Show Now That He's Running For Office

The Dr. Oz Show will be temporarily dropped in at least two major TV markets, though FCC rules do not yet apply to the celebrity physician as a candidate

Dr. Oz Show
Dr. Oz. Photo: Harpo Inc./AP

Dr. Mehmet Oz made headlines on Tuesday with the official announcement that he is launching a Republican campaign for Senate in Pennsylvania. But his announcement also raised questions, such as what will happen to the The Dr. Oz Show, the daily hourlong talk show that helped make him famous?

The Federal Communications Commission dictates that candidates running for office receive equal airtime. But, as an FCC spokesperson explained to PEOPLE, that rule only applies to those who are determined to be a "legally qualified candidate."

"Until such time that Dr. Oz, or another candidate for office in Pennsylvania, qualifies as a 'legally qualified candidate' for FCC purposes, the benefits of our political programming rules do not apply to him and the obligations do not apply to stations," Katie Gorscak, who works for the FCC Office of Media Relations, told PEOPLE. "We look to Pennsylvania law to determine whether a candidate is qualified to hold the office for which he or she is a candidate or be placed on the ballot."

As Gorscak explained, a "legally qualified" candidate must publicly announce his or her intention to run for office; be qualified to hold the office for which he or she is a candidate; and must qualify for a place on the ballot (or have publicly committed to seeking election by the write-in method).

Oz has not yet qualified for a place on the ballot but, perhaps preemptively, the show — which was renewed for a 13th and 14th season last year — has already been taken off the air by Fox in both Philadelphia and New York City markets, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Dr. Oz show
The Dr. Oz Show / Season 11. Sony Pictures Television

Elsewhere in the country, the show will for now air as usual, though Oz, 61, likely won't be able to film new episodes while he's busy campaigning — which raises questions about the show's future, should he secure the Republican nomination or go on to win the general election.

A spokesperson for the show did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment but The Los Angeles Times reports that Sony Pictures Television, the company that syndicates Oz's show, has a longer-term plan in place.

Citing sources familiar with the plan, the paper reports that The Good Dish — a program hosted by Oz's daughter, chef and television host Daphne Oz — would take over The Dr. Oz Show slot beginning in January and running for the remainder of the 2021-2022 season.

In his first campaign ad, which launched Tuesday, Oz referenced the show, saying he had started it to "advocate" for viewers to take control of their health.

"I invented a heart valve that saves thousands of lives," he says in the ad. "Then, I started a TV show to advocate for you taking control of your health, and took on the medical establishment to argue against costly drugs and skyrocketing medical bills."

The Dr. Oz Show launched in 2009, after Oz made a name for himself as a frequent guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

While it helped propel the cardiothoracic surgeon's television career, the show also proved controversial at times, with Oz frequently being accused of promoting unproven medical treatments and making false or misleading scientific claims.

In 2015, a group of doctors sent a letter to New York's Columbia University — where Oz has served as professor and vice-chair of the department of surgery — demanding his dismissal for promoting what they called "quack treatments."

More recently, Oz apologized last year after saying that reopening schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic was "an appetizing opportunity," as it "may only cost us 2-3% in terms of total mortality."

In a video following outcry over the comments, Oz said he "misspoke," adding, "I've realized my comments on risks around opening schools have confused and upset people, which was never my intention."

Oz and his crew returned to the studio in September 2020 to film season 12 of The Dr. Oz Show, and filmed several months of the show last year from home, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The website for the show currently redirects to Oz's campaign website.

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