Five days a week, hosts Daphne Oz, Top Chef’s Gail Simmons and Food Network’s Jamika Pessoa get together to share recipes, offer tips and interview celebrities. The one-hour show is an expanded version of a weekly segment that has aired during Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz for the past several years.
“Many people, if they cook at all, have three recipes they make all the time,” Oz said. “That is the first and foremost thing we’re going to answer: What’s for dinner? We’re going to provide viewers with a simple, elevated family supper that you are going to want to make and they are going to want to eat.”
As the mom of four young children, Oz knows of what she speaks. She began her cooking career early, having written The Dorm Room Diet while she was attending Princeton University. She went on a book tour and spoke on college campuses to promote that effort. In 2011, she began starring as a co-host on ABC’s The Chew, where she appeared for six years. She departed that show the year before ABC canceled it in 2018.
“The Dorm Room Diet came about because I was an overweight kid in a family full of health nuts,” said Oz, the oldest of Dr. Mehmet Oz’s four children. “I love cooking. I love the delicious product of that effort, how you can have an adventure in your kitchen and the conversations all of that fosters. I have always been intrigued by the idea of women gathering in the kitchen. The conversations that flow from gathering around a delicious meal are a beautiful way to connect.
“That love is what drew me to food initially,” Oz continued. “The continual ability to learn is what keeps me there.”
Those are the ideas that form the core of The Good Dish, which is taking The Dr. Oz Show’s time slots on TV stations across the country. Dr. Oz was spun off from The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2009 and ran for nearly 13 seasons. Sony had been offering The Good Dish to stations as a first-run strip since 2019 but ran into challenges clearing it due to a lack of real estate, with the ABC- and NBC-owned stations instead picking up Tamron Hall and Kelly Clarkson, respectively. And then, of course, the onset of the pandemic in 2020 changed the picture for everyone.
A Show Finds Its Moment
“There’s a lot of pressure in the business for groups to take internal product, particularly on the affiliate side,” Flory Bramnick, executive VP, distribution, Sony Pictures Television, said. “It wasn’t like we couldn’t get the show sold, but we really thought we had something bigger than that. We wanted to wait for the right opportunity. We owed it to our stations, our viewers and our advertisers to really wait for the right moment and the right moment came along.”
When Dr. Oz decided to depart his eponymous show and run for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, an immediate need opened up. Oz wrapped its run on Friday, January 14, and The Good Dish premiered on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 17.
“As soon as we needed to go, there was this symphony,” Bramnick said. “Everybody pulled together and they pulled together immediately. That included the talent, [executive producers] Amy Chairo and Stacy Rader on the production side, Holly Jacobs in development, Zack Hernandez in distribution and business affairs, finance and marketing. It was hard and scary at times. We didn’t know exactly how things were going to turn out. But the station partners were fabulous, really fabulous, and the advertisers have been fabulous. Everyone had their oars in the water and they pulled it off.”
Besides Oz, the show features Simmons, who comes from Top Chef and Food & Wine magazine and is classically trained, and Pessoa, who has appeared frequently on Food Network and focuses on Caribbean fare. Each of the three women comes from an entirely different food background, and the show draws from all three.
“Gail is our brain,” Oz said. “She always knows the classical way to make something or how to fix something that flopped. Jamika is a veteran of television and caterer by training. She has this incredible ability to make food fun and give it an entertaining spin, whether you’re cooking for a crowd, making something bite-sized or giving it a finishing touch.”
The Good Dish is executive-produced in New York City by Amy Chiaro and Stacy Rader, who seem to have glided smoothly from Dr. Oz to The Good Dish without skipping a beat.
“We had a few weeks to make the full turn,” Chiaro said. “Even before Sony knew 100% that we would launch, I knew I needed to start a production team. We started laying out segments because there was nothing to lose by us just getting started.”
Off to a Running Start
The Good Dish had a huge advantage in getting up and running quickly in that it already had everything it needed — talent, crew, stage, set — in place.
“We already had the infrastructure,” said Rader, who previously served as a producer for Food Network. “It was all there waiting for us. We weren’t turning on the lights for the first time. I see great opportunities for extensions into home, lifestyle, beauty, fashion. [The hosts] bring a lot of varied interests.”
The key to the show’s success, Chiaro said, is the chemistry of its hosts. “I think this is a show that will be fun to be with. They are all super warm and have amazing chemistry with each other. This is a nice break for people and a great opportunity for some ‘me time.’ ”
Stations are paying Sony the same cash license fee plus barter that they paid for Dr. Oz, according to station sources. Dr. Oz was due to air for one more season, through 2022-23, but Sony will need to renew The Good Dish if it’s going to stay on the air after this season.
In its premiere week, The Good Dish averaged a 0.4 live-plus-same-day national household rating, according to Nielsen. All syndicated shows face preemptions due to sports, live news conferences and other reasons, but The Good Dish saw two days of preemptions in its premiere week, causing Nielsen to break its Monday premiere-day rating out of the show’s weekly average. ■
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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.