Dr. Oz The Good Life Editor: ‘Some People Freak Out When They Meet Him’

The roster of media mavens, moguls and boldface names spotted today at Michael's.

lunch at michaels When I ‘Lunched’ with Dr. Mehmet Oz on the eve of the debut of his namesake magazine back in 2014, I was struck by his incredible charisma and approachability. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one. In all my years covering the Michael’s crowd it is the only occasion I can remember where a slew of other famous folks literally lined up to meet another celebrity.

Jill Herzig, Diane Clehane and Jill Seelig

This didn’t come as a surprise to Dr. Oz The Good Life’s editor in chief Jill Herzig, who joined me today along with the magazine’s publisher Jill Seelig and Hearst’s Allie Haake. “Some people really freak out when they meet him,” said Herzig. She recounted an anecdote about the hilarious reaction the wife of one of Dr. Oz’s cardiac patients had when she first met him. Herzig found out about the encounter while doing a web series about the effect the good doctor has had on his patients. “These are people who owe their lives to Dr. Oz.,” she explained. “For the most part, people don’t know he still does surgery and when he does, they often don’t know he’s going to be their doctor until the last minute. This woman whose husband was having surgery once made Dr. Oz leave the room until she could put on a full face of makeup — she’s wasn’t ‘ready’ to meet him — and her husband was having heart surgery!”

It’s Oz’s unique combination of accessibility, star power and credibility that have made the Hearst title a hit with readers and advertisers alike. In an anemic advertising climate, ad pages are up 17 percent through the October 2016 issue, attracting new advertisers including Pantene, Sherwin Williams and California Walnuts, and the title is among the top 10 best selling magazines at newsstand this year. “We provide an environment that elevates their message,” said Seelig. “[Advertisers] understand there’s an extra level of trust which makes us unique.”

Herzig told me that even with his grueling schedule of seeing his patients and taping his daytime show [more on that later] Dr. Oz is “very hands on” with the inner workings of the magazine. “He signs off on every page in the magazine. She has weekly meetings with Lisa Oz (“She’s incredible”) and is in “almost daily” contact with Dr. Oz. He’s also made himself available to the staff. “Editors on the staff feel free to email him and often do. They always get a quick response.” And, Herzig noted, it doesn’t always have to do with business. “I have a friend whose son was hurt out in Los Angeles. I emailed Dr. Oz about it at 11:30 at night and at 11:35 he responded with names of people for him to see. He’s really great that way and he’s that way with everyone.”

Oz’s reputation as the go-to doctor for the global age is obviously enhanced by his popular daytime television show, which has been renewed through 2019. “That’s a huge boost [for the magazine,]” said Herzig, who told me there are no plans to experiment with Oz-free covers. “It’s still extremely important even at the two-year mark.”

Both the editors and advertising staff have an “unusual” and highly synergistic arrangement with the staff on Oz’s show. “We co-create content,” said Herzig, who has also appeared on the broadcast. “For our January-February diet issue, the show’s producer worked with us during the show’s July hiatus. Our schedules could not be less synced up, but they are willing to do whatever they need to make it work to cross promote [the magazine and the show]. It drives us to do our best.”

For her part, Seelig “collaborates” on advertising buys with Sony, who distributes the show. “Their sales team and our sales team work together on tent pole and custom [ad packages] for advertisers. It’s mostly custom [programs].”