Dr. Oz, Oprah, and the TV doctor's run for Senate

Dr. Mehmet Oz.
(Image credit: Brian Ach/Getty Images forL'Oréal Paris)

Your favorite TV doctor — Dr. Mehmet Oz — is officially running for Senate in Pennsylvania, but how might your favorite television personality — Oprah Winfrey, of course, on whose show Oz got his start — handle such a political move? Well, according to a new piece from New York's Olivia Nuzzi, that answer could depend on who, and perhaps when, you ask.

Per an account of a meeting with Republican activists and officials in Pittsburgh, one source reports Oz told the room "he believed he could count on Oprah to back him in the general election, when he would need to recalibrate his messaging for moderates after pitching himself to right-wing voters in the primary," writes Nuzzi. Oz reportedly went on to said he had spoken to Winfrey about his campaign and that "she's supportive," both given their friendship and the fact it would be of "strategic" benefit to her to endorse him.

In other instances, however, Oz has "promoted a story about protecting Oprah by begging her not to involve herself in the messy business of the Pennsylvania Senate race." Oz then recounts that "he prioritized their relationship over her potentially valuable endorsement," Nuzzi reports.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

But if you ask a former producer for The Dr. Oz Show, a heavy push from Winfrey seems unlikely. "There is no way that Oprah is going to help turn Pennsylvania red," they said. "Oprah is not gonna do that."

Nuzzi also asked Winfrey herself for comment, but her spokesperson replied with a simple statement: "'One of the great things about our democracy is that every citizen can decide to run for public office. Mehmet Oz has made that decision. And now it's up to the residents of Pennsylvania to decide who will represent them.' — Oprah Winfrey."

Only time will tell.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.