How Dr. Oz Became a Regular Coronavirus Pundit on Fox News

Dr. Oz - Getty - H 2020
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The television doctor, an "unpaid guest," has become a regular dispenser of analysis and commentary.

Dr. Oz had a busy day Tuesday. The syndicated talk show host participated in Fox News Channel's virtual town hall with President Donald Trump in the afternoon, appeared on Lou Dobbs' Fox Business Network show, did a hit on Fox host Sean Hannity's radio show a few hours later and then did Hannity's primetime television show at night. (On Wednesday, he started off the day on Fox & Friends in the morning.)

Dr. Oz, the director of the Integrative Medical Center at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, has become a regular presence on Fox News and Fox Business Network and a go-to medical expert to discuss possible therapeutic options to treat the novel coronavirus in recent weeks.

He's guested particularly often the last few days. On Monday, he did Fox & Friends in the early morning, America's Newsroom later in the morning, Fox Business in the early evening and Laura Ingraham's primetime show at night. On Friday, he did Fox & Friends in the morning, for a second day in a row, then America's Newsroom, then Outnumbered Overtime in the afternoon, then Dobbs' show — a regular spot for him recently — Friday night.

Dr. Oz appears on the Fox News Media networks as "an unpaid guest," a company spokesperson said. (His daytime show airs on Fox Television stations around the country.)

"We have a good rapport with all hosts and all media on a wide variety of networks and platforms," a spokesperson for Dr. Oz told THR. "He is not paid by Fox or any of the other media we appear on. ... Previous to coronavirus, he had roughly bi-weekly appearances on the Today show and Fox & Friends, so this is nothing new."

In his recent appearances, Dr. Oz appears to have won over some of Fox News' biggest stars.

"Dr. Oz, I have to tell you, I have become such a big fan of yours," Hannity told Dr. Oz on Tuesday. "You do a great service every day, and I've got to give you a lot of props for this." 

Dr. Oz shares with Hannity an optimism about small tests that have portended the potential effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin in treating the virus, which has been reflected in his on-air commentary.

"He's been doing some phenomenal work in trying to get answers to off-label, compassionate use of FDA-approved drugs," Hannity said.

"Dr. Oz, you gave a lot of people hope today," Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade told him on Monday morning, after he called the drug combo a potential "game-changer."

It's also been a family affair. Dr. Oz's son, Oliver, a student at Harvard University, appeared on Fox & Friends last week. "He loves you guys, and thank you for hosting him," Dr. Oz told the hosts.

Dr. Oz has a connection with President Trump, who appeared on the Sept. 15, 2016 edition of his syndicated talk show — as a candidate — to exclusively share his medical records. Perhaps to return the favor, the president appointed Dr. Oz to a two-year term as a member of the President’s Council on Sport, Fitness, and Nutrition in May 2018.

His analysis has been met with some skepticism, however.

"I should have known Dr Oz would be a Fox News Medical "expert,'" former Obama White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer wrote on Twitter.

Henry I. Miller, a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco, sent a letter to Columbia University in 2015, signed by 10 physicians, that criticized Dr. Oz and asked the institution to remove him from its faculty.

Asked by The Hollywood Reporter about Dr. Oz's coronavirus commentary on Fox News, Miller responded, "Why would anyone with an IQ above single digits waste time listening to Dr. Oz?"