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'Dr. Oz' Suspends Production After Staffer Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Sony Pictures Television has suspended taping on The Dr. Oz Show after a staff member tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday.

The show will remain in originals with pre-taped episodes with host and cardiologist Dr. Mehmet Oz providing new opening segments each day from a studio set up in his home. The medically focused show has been providing viewers with as much new information on the global pandemic as it could over the past several weeks. Oz also is frequently showing up as a medical expert on many news shows. 

"We have had a staff member test positive for COVID-19. Only 1 staff member has been tested at this time (that we are aware of)," wrote executive producer Amy Chiaro in a letter to staff. 

According to a show spokeswoman, the afflicted staffer worked in a production office, not on the set. When that person showed up with a dry cough, he was sent home out of an abundance of caution even though otherwise the person felt fine. Due to Oz’s extensive connections in the New York medical community, he was able to order a test for the staffer. The test came back positive on Wednesday, the spokeswoman said. No one else on staff, including Oz, is being tested since none of them are showing symptoms and Oz feels that tests should be conserved for those who are.

Prior to learning those results, Oz and his staff had been practicing social distancing while on set, including conducting conference calls from separate offices and requiring hair and make-up providers to wear masks and gloves. Oz had not been in physical contact with the afflicted staffer since February. The show is notifying anyone who has been a guest in recent days of the unlikely but potential exposure.

The Dr. Oz Show will be out of production through at least the end of this month. It already was scheduled to end production for the season on April 16 so most of its content is banked and it's still on schedule to remain in original episodes through the end of May.

Dr. Oz was one of the few syndicated shows that had remained in production. Almost all shows with live studio audiences suspended that practice as of last week, and most ended up going into production hiatus.

The New York Post’s Page Six first reported this story. 

Paige Albiniak
Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.