In addition to hosting his Emmy-winning eponymous talk show, overseeing a nonprofit and readying to launch a magazine with Hearst, Dr. Mehmet Oz still has time to be a practicing cardiothoracic surgeon. He’s also a family man, with a wife and four children, three of whom are in school. How does he juggle it all? We went straight to the source for answers.
5:45 a.m.: Rise and shine
Dr. Oz knows that the early bird gets the worm: “I get up at about quarter to 6,” he tells us. Upon waking, Dr. Oz does a short, 10-minute workout “which is mainly yoga, with some calisthenics,” he says. “I change those calisthenics a little bit, but they’re essentially core work, so sit-ups, push-ups, etc.”
7 a.m.: Get to work
After a morning shower, Dr. Oz commutes by car from his home in New Jersey to his TV studio in New York. “I’m here by like 5 of 7 because at 7 o’clock every morning, we start our meetings,” he says. Dr. Oz tapes two shows a day and preps for both at the morning meeting: “We troubleshoot [and make any] last changes,” he says. For breakfast, it’s Greek yogurt, berries and a green juice — a mix of produce like cucumbers, celery, apples, oranges, lemons and limes — which he makes the night before.
8:30 a.m.: Rehearsal
“At 8:30 I go out to rehearse for an hour, and then I run back to the hardest part of my day, which is hair and makeup. Guys can’t stand that stuff — you have to sit still and not do anything for 15, 20 minutes.”
10 a.m.: Showtime
12 p.m.: Lunch
Dr. Oz’s genial spirit comes through when he tells us about the cauliflower his wife, Lisa, made him for lunch: “Here, eat that, it’s good,” he says, offering us a bite.
12:30 p.m.: Meetings
Dr. Oz’s life may sound glamorous, but he’s still got to attend meetings just like the rest of us.
1:30 p.m.: Rehearsal for the second show
3 p.m.: Second show
5 p.m.: Final touches; prep for upcoming shows
After both of the day’s episodes are taped, Dr. Oz runs upstairs to his studio to record voice-overs and promos for the local markets. “[What] people don’t realize about television is it’s a very local business,” he says. “It’s a national show, but you have to help the local people win their markets. So, you’ve got to give them stuff to help them tell the story.” He also meets with his producers about the coming week’s shows.
7 p.m.: Dinner
Dr. Oz heads home and settles into dinner with his kids — however many are home that night — and Lisa, a vegetarian, whom he calls “a great chef.” What’s on the menu at Chez Oz?“She makes a great pasta [with] different kinds of pesto sauces, arrabiata sauces — she’s really good at making that stuff come alive. She will cook tofu-based dishes quite a bit. She’s great at squashes. She takes vegetables and she makes them taste out of this world. We’ll have a big salad with different kinds of exotic dressings that she’ll mix up. It doesn’t take her hours and hours to make it.”
8 p.m.: Unwind; prep for the next day’s shows
“I rarely go out on weekdays, because I like to be rested for the next day,” he says. “If I’m busy doing something else ’til 10 o’clock at night, I don’t find that I’m as rested the following morning.” Instead, like a student studying for exams, the doctor readies himself for his next day’s shows. “When I get home at night, I have all the scripts, so I’ll go through those, and I’ll study my medical notes,” Dr. Oz tells us. He cops to a “terrible memory,” but still manages to prepare himself by focusing on what he wants his viewer to take away from each show. “I try not to memorize [the material],” he says. “I try to understand it.”
10:15 p.m.: Lights out
“I’m always in bed by 10:15 at the latest,” says Dr. Oz, who gets about seven-and-a-half hours of shut-eye each night. “I fight for that. It’s the most important thing I do. I won’t take a phone call at 10:15 because anyone who’s calling at 10 o’clock is gonna rile you up. … The No. 1 biggest mistake we make in America is not sleeping, by far.”
What about his other job?
With such a hectic schedule, it’s easy to forget that Dr. Oz is also a practicing surgeon. How he makes it all work: He doesn’t tape on Thursdays, instead spending the day at Columbia University Medical Center. Also, during the summer, his TV show doesn’t tape, so he can work more at the hospital.
While there, he does grand rounds, where he trains younger doctors, and also meets with new patients and does surgeries. And just because he’s Dr. Oz doesn’t mean you have to wait years to get an appointment: “It’s busy, but people get in,” he says. “You have to wait a couple weeks, but it’s not months and months.”
Weekends in the Oz house
“I rarely leave my house on weekends,” says the doctor, who calls himself a “complete hermit.” “I just love, for roughly 48 hours, decompressing completely with no real worldly concerns, because during the week you’re going full speed all the time.” On his agenda? Sports (“I play a lot of basketball and tennis”), outdoors activities and movies with the family. And though Dr. Oz rarely drinks alcohol during the week, he does enjoy tequila on the weekends.
His parenting style
“I’ve always found that if I make it easy for them to do the right thing, they’ll do it. So instead of saying ‘Don’t eat that candy,’ I just don’t bring any candy in the house. If they happen to bring candy from a friend, then they should eat it. I’m not gonna confiscate it and throw it away. Let them eat it and then move on.”