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HEARST’S NEW WIZARD: Dr. Mehmet Oz is no stranger to media attention — in fact, some would say he revels in it. The surgeon-cum-TV personality has become a household name ever since he began appearing on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show as a health expert five years ago.
Today, Oz is a star in his own right, seemingly following the Oprah blueprint every step of the way. He’s got his own talk show, has penned several books, has a radio show — and now, thanks to Hearst Magazines (the same company that publishes O, The Oprah Magazine) — he’s got a magazine, which will hit newsstands Feb 4.
Dubbed Dr. Oz The Good Life, the title focuses on a range of subjects, from food, beauty and exercise to relationships and money — all through the filter of health. The launch issue showcases a posed yet friendly-looking Oz on the cover, which has a hint of O as well as Cosmopolitan, another Hearst title.
Flashing a smattering of multicolored headlines — including “Easy Plan to Drop 10 LBS in 4 Weeks,” “Weird Ways Your Phone Affects Your Sex Life” and “Eat Like Dr. Oz!” — the inaugural issue of The Good Life marks Hearst’s third major launch in recent years, following the debuts of its Food Network and HGTV magazines, which began as pilots and later expanded to 10 times a year. This launch is perhaps most similar to O, which hit newsstands in 1999, as it too, centers on a personality and a preexisting fan base.
Sitting at the head of a long conference table at Hearst Tower in Midtown Manhattan, a dapper, suit-clad Oz is very aware of that parallel.
“I’ll be on the cover of this magazine as long as I need to be on the cover,” he said. “I don’t want to intrude in the experience of the reader.”
Oz explained that what separates this magazine from the countless other health and personality-centric ones is its message of “leading the good life.” Although that quasi-Socratic sentiment seems amorphous, if not heavy, for a 148-page glossy, editorial director Ellen Levine, editor in chief Alison Brower and vice president/publisher Kristine Welker are counting on Dr. Oz fans to instinctively understand, seek out and follow his prescriptions all the way to the newsstand.
Hearst will tap into the good doctor’s fan base, which, according to Oz, includes his Web site that clocks more than 10 million unique visits a month, his Facebook page that has 4 million “likes” and his Twitter following that totals about 3.3 million followers. Hearst noted that initial distribution of the pilot issue is 800,000 copies: 375,000 on the newsstand at a cover price of $3.99, with the balance going to subscribers, which currently total 50,000. Oz’s second issue will hit newsstands April 15.
“There is something very clear about him and his voice,” said Levine, who is known around the halls of Hearst as an ace launch editor, following the successful introductions of O and Food Network magazines. “There are some really smart doctors and philosophers, but nobody understands what they are saying. There was something unique about his message and his voice that we thought would translate into a magazine someday,” she said.
Proving it practices what it preaches, Hearst said it would serve recipes found in Oz’s first issue in its cafeteria during the week of the magazine’s launch. Recipes include pan-fried trout and sweet potato strips, cauliflower frittata, bean soup with kale and the more mundane, yet nonetheless nutritious, combination of apple slices with peanut butter on whole-grain bread. Yummy.