Winfrey hearts idea of talker starring Dr. Oz

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Oprah Winfrey has her heart set on a talk show for Dr. Oz.

A spokesman for Winfrey's production company, Harpo Prods., declined to confirm a report that Winfrey is developing a talk show featuring the heart surgeon for fall 2009.

But sources said Winfrey has had her sights set on a daytime talker hosted by Mehmet Oz for a while. In fact, the talk show mogul had originally been eyeing a fall 2008 launch but decided she wanted more time to let audiences get more acquainted with him, sources said.

Winfrey has been featuring Oz frequently on her show, a strategy similar to the one she employed with Dr. Phil McGraw and Rachael Ray ahead of their talkshow launches. Oz, vice chair of surgery and professor of cardiac surgery at Columbia University, even hosted an episode practically by himself recently.

Winfrey's talker and the two spinoffs — "Dr. Phil" and "Rachael Ray" — are distributed by CBS Television Distribution.

But sources said Winfrey has been meeting with all potential distributors about the Oz-hosted show, also similar to the strategy employed when Harpo was shopping "Dr. Phil."

CBS already is planning to launch a medical-themed talk show, the "Dr. Phil" spinoff "The Doctors," in the fall.

Oz also has hosted such Discovery Health programs as "Second Opinion With Dr. Oz," and Discovery Communications featured him in its video reel Tuesday at its upfront presentation to advertisers in Los Angeles.
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