Dr. Oz's TV Staff Defend Star Over End of Show Dr. Mehmet Oz receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Feb. 11, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (JC Olivera/Getty Images)
By Marisa Herman | Wednesday, 30 March 2022 05:36 PM
Dr. Oz may not be on TV with his popular show, but his fans may not be the only ones missing out on the star.
The hit syndicated "Dr. Oz Show" lasted thirteen seasons, and long-time employees and staff of the program are speaking out in favor of their colleague and friend.
Oz is seeking the Republican Senate nomination in Pennsylvania in a hotly contested GOP primary set for May 17.
He's been the target of attacks from the New York Times, and even the Biden White House, which just last week fired Oz from the President's Fitness Council after he called on Dr. Anthony Fauci to be fired.
Now the internet is abuzz over rumors the celebrated heart surgeon "heartlessly" left employees on his show abandoned and without work.
Newsmax looked into the matter and found a different story.
Oz's long-time staffers tell Newsmax that Oz agreed to personally pay employees through the end of their contracts even though filming for his show had already wrapped and guaranteed to cover employees' health insurance through the end of their contracts.
Oz also helped staff to transition to jobs on "The Good Dish" – a new show that he backed with his own money.
"I did that all because I respect my staff," Oz said. "I wanted them to feel protected."
Tina Tung, who served as the show's director of marketing for 13 years, said staffers were certainly surprised when they learned Oz decided to pivot to politics, but they didn't feel abandoned.
"We were not told we were all out on the street," she said, adding that the general sentiment on set was that "everyone has their path in life" and this opportunity was rare and hard to pass up for Oz.
Recognizing that a Senate seat "doesn't just open up" every election cycle, and that Oz felt it was time to serve his country in a different way, she said the staff understood that "this was his chance."
"We got it," Tung said. "He had to do what he had to do. The time was right."
Oz announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination in late November and swiftly became a target of corporate media.
While Oz sacrificed his highly rated TV show to launch his campaign, Tung said he still took care of his staff as if they were family.
"We were all still on payroll, gainfully employed," she said.
Once "The Dr. Oz Show" finished taping its 13th and final season, she said all employees were given the opportunity to "transition seamlessly" to work on "The Good Dish," a cooking show starring Oz's daughter, Daphne Oz, as well as Gail Simmons and Jamika Pessoa.
"All of a sudden, we were given another lease on life to work on another show," Tung said.
The show wasn't picked up by a network after its first season, however, which Tung believes led to some employees feeling they weren't "given a fair shake."
Andrea Chessler, who worked as a title producer on the show since its inception, said she was personally appalled by characterizations in some media and blogs that accused Oz of being a "heart doctor without a heart."
"He actually saved my life," she said.
After she was diagnosed with a heart condition just over two years ago, she said Oz "took care of everything" related to the valve replacement she needed.
From reviewing medical records to recommending a surgeon, she said Oz even scrubbed in on the day of her surgery to make sure everything went according to plan.
"I can't tell you how much the man did for me," Chessler said. "He took care of everything. I couldn't have asked for more. I know he's a heart surgeon but he didn't have to do what he did."
She added: "I'm alive today because of him."
Martin Taub, a producer on the show since season seven in 2015, described Oz as "generous" and a "terrific person to work for."
"I felt like I was working for a family business," he said. "I was treated like family."
Tung said Oz's graciousness, dedication, and appreciation for his staff is what caused her to pass on several job opportunities during the past 13 years and stick with the doctor.
"I felt, all the time I was there, like a family," she said. "We really, really liked working with each other. From the executive producer to the associate producer to the hair and makeup people, we truly felt like we were very cohesive as a group."
"It didn't matter if you were the stagehand or supervising producer if you were the wardrobe stylist or the food stylist," she said. "I watched him over the years treat everyone with such dignity and giving equal credit for their role in the show. He was always thanking people and telling them how appreciative he was of them."