Fox 5/WNYW Sends Dr. Oz to 4 p.m. Looking to Grab Oprah’s Audience

With Oprah Winfrey set to sail off into cable TV full time next week, some stations are looking to fill the void left by her 25 legendary years.

Fox 5/WNYW had an easy decision–move Dr. (Mehmet) Oz to 4 p.m. beginning Thursday.

“There’s no other show that was a possibility,” Lew Leone, WNYW VP/GM, tells FishbowlNY. “It’s a 4 o’clock show.”

But since Oz’s show is produced by Winfrey’s Harpo team, their hands were tied contractually from moving it–until she walked away from over-the-air TV.

Meantime, WABC/Channel 7, Winfrey’s New York “home” for her eponymous program, will go with news at 4 p.m. starting Thursday.

However, Leone says that was never an option for his station.

“I’ve seen that movie,” Leone says.

The veteran TV exec says he was involved at other channels where a 4 p.m. newscast was launched unsuccessfully.

With Leone conceding there’s only one Oprah, he’s ready to go into 4 p.m. battle with Dr. Oz (who got his TV start on Winfrey’s show) 

“Oz is a perfect lead-in for our local news,” Leone says. “It delivers great content for women.”

Excited about Oz’s new afternoon Fox 5 slot, the station is “welcoming” him at 4 p.m. with a New York City taxi “stunt” next week. The show is offering people free rides, complete with random Dr. Oz appearances and blood pressure screenings.