Megyn Kelly — and Jerry Seinfeld.
Two star TV personalities have bowed out of the scripted series business recently, and one of them is going back to being a daytime TV talk show host. The other former standout sitcom star is running for Senate.
With the writing on the wall that Kelly’s show is in trouble, the mega-producer behind “The Dr. Oz Show” said the syndicated show would not return for another season starting in September. The series, which generated steady ratings but struggled with renewed scrutiny over some of the medical advice it offered in recent years, will conclude with four episodes in February.
A made-for-TV publicist-battle between Kelly and Dr. Mehmet Oz is a perfect and amusing setup for how the future of daytime talk will look. The brash and charismatic Oz took the first steps into daytime a decade ago, signing a cable TV deal that sent his program into millions of homes across the country. Oz made a well-deserved wish that he would have a show on ABC in the rearview mirror.
Kelly, who was dismissed last week from NBC after a less-than-stellar run as the host of “Megyn Kelly Today,” has signed a deal with sister Fox News Channel, which could make the future of her series a bit more obvious. The highly polarizing news anchor, who no longer has an ax to grind with Comcast’s soon-to-be-razed ABC unit, remains the new face of Fox News.
Oz’s story already had been well-documented in the non-fiction arena. The son of Turkish immigrants, Oz started out on TV serving as a medical correspondent for “60 Minutes” while still in medical school. An epiphany came as he sat in the ICU at New York City’s Sloan-Kettering cancer institute.
“I realized there are billions of patients that don’t really have access to quality health care in this country,” Oz told the New York Times in 1998. “So much money is being squandered by health care professionals who are wasting time discussing how someone should inject their own rectum with catheters or how best to go about a prostateectomy. But we should be discussing the lifestyle component, the diet and exercise, too. And we should be looking at diseases, like cancer, that are preventable.”
The fertile ground from which Oz sprang made him a natural for TV success.
As the daytime talk format began to fray around its edges, Hollywood responded by playing with reality shows and trivia. Oz began writing books that he can conduct as a “how-to” format. Kelly, whose foray into magazine shows fell flat, is a giant if lesser-known star in that area. But both have also turned their hand to producing.
Oz’s “The Dr. Oz Show” won two Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show and one for Outstanding Talk Show Host. It averaged a 0.8 rating in primetime last year and generated 696,000 viewers in a typical episode, according to Nielsen data. Fox News was the program’s largest subscriber and highest-rated outlet.