'Dr. Oz' cleared in 40% of the country

Harpo Prods. talk show sold in 13 of top 20 markets

Just days into the 2008-09 season, talk show "Dr. Oz" has been cleared in 40% of the country for a fall 2009 launch.

"Oz," from Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Prods. and distributor Sony Pictures TV, becomes the first first-run syndicated show to announce station clearances for next year, with most of those primarily in afternoon slots and nine of the 14 stations planning double runs.

SPT has sold the show in 13 of the top 20 markets, including the Fox-owned stations in New York (WNYW), Los Angeles (KTTV) and Chicago (WFLD). Other stations include those owned by Gannett, Post-Newsweek, Belo, Scripps Howard, Fisher, McGraw Hill and Hearst-Argyle.

"Stations all around the country are responding to Dr. Oz's track record and ratings performance on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' and aggressively pursuing his new series," SPT distribution president John Weiser said.

Oz will have made an estimated 80 appearances on "Oprah" by season's end. Incidentally, Fox Television Stations Group's president of station operations is Dennis Swanson, who gave Winfrey her big break when he was GM of WLS-TV Chicago.