Dr. Mehmet Oz is running for Senate in Pennsylvania, where Republicans are wary of him, and his former colleagues don't have many good things to say about him.
The cardiac surgeon became a household celebrity as a guest on Oprah Winfrey's daytime talk show and then hosted his own before deciding to seek the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, but the media mogul had little to say about his candidacy, according to a lengthy profile by New York Magazine's Olivia Nuzzi.
“Ms. Winfrey is not doing interviews at this time,” her spokeswoman Nicole Nichols tersely replied 14 days after a request for comment, but followed up a few days after that. “I have one statement for you from Ms. Winfrey. No other comments: ‘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.”
Another reporter who profiled Oz said he remains "haunted" by the way his subject could perform a heart transplant one day and then turn around and discuss with TV producers whether cotton or Silly Putty would be a better material for prop testicles to hand out to audience members during a show taping.
"I mean, how do you go from A to B?" said New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, who profiled Oz. "Why does he seem more excited about the fake testicles than the open-heart surgery? The answer is because the latter was the route to fame and riches — and that’s the Faustian bargain.”
“I’ve met and profiled very few if any people who so embody the wages of ambition," Bruni added.
Some of his former producers feel the same way, including one who was horrified when Oz decided to do regular segments on true crime for the talk show.
“I was like, ‘What?! How the f*ck are we going to do true crime on The Dr. Oz Show?’ ” the former producer said. “And then it was twice a week, sometimes three times a week during ratings week. It was a stretch. The only way that you could tie it to something medically was to talk about some DNA evidence. It was a sign to me that this guy is willing to do whatever it takes for money. So it wasn’t a shock or a surprise for me when I saw that he was running for office, because he just wants to f*cking win.”
A veteran daytime producer agreed, saying that Oz became obsessed with money and his own self regard.
“Somewhere, I’m not sure how, he started to sell out — it happens to a lot of people when they get money and success; they want more money and more success. He went from doctor to entertainer to scam artist,” the veteran daytime producer said. “Dr. Oz is dangerous because he believes he’s got some divine power.”