How does a 52-year-old cardiothoracic surgeon with a wife and four children become a household name, magazine cover star and beloved icon for ladies across the nation? For starters, it helps to know Oprah. And to be Dr. Mehmet Oz.
A recent piece by Christine Haughney for the New York Times reports that in an era when magazines are seeing slumping sales, Dr. Oz is becoming a newsstand sure shot.
When Prevention put him on its October 2011 cover, newsstand sales jumped by 45 percent from the year before. Shape editors reported a more than 10 percent jump in sales when Dr. Oz appeared on its November 2011 cover with his wife. Dr. Oz has become so popular that some magazines, like Woman's World and First for Women, put him on their covers without his consent.
In January 2012, he was the first man on the over of O; in May 2012 he was the first man on the cover of Woman's Day since 1974.
Though he's also been on the cover of Time, it's safe to say that the majority of magazines that Dr. Oz has appeared on are marketed to women, and that women are the ones snapping buying the issues. What is it about the good doctor that draws in the ladies?
In addition to the fact that he's been sprinkled with Oprah's magic dust, Dr. Oz's success is kind of a no-brainer: A woman falling for a doctor is a pretty ancient trope; who wouldn't want a man who is nurturing, healing, attentive, in tune to your body? Still, you don't see Dr. Phil or the dude who wears scrubs 24/7 on The Doctors with their own magazine covers. Dr. Oz, with his Emmy-award winning TV show, simple recipes and easy-going attitude, has that intangible something. He's handsome but not too perfect, experienced and intelligent but not cocky about it, affable and approachable. He's such a hit with the ladies that he has his own Pinterest account.
Plus, Dr. Oz is really good at selling Dr. Oz. "He understands the promotion world as he understands your lower intestine," Richard Stengel, managing editor of Time, tells the Times.
But perhaps Dr. Oz is just the right guy in the right place at the right time. Americans are scrambling for answers to their health-related questions, especially when it comes to diet and nutrition (you know, ladyproblems.) And unlike some of the Goopy hokum out there, Dr. Oz comes across with just the right amount of authority (we spoke to his "people," who confirm that although he tapes 3 days a week, he continues to see patients on Thursdays at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center) and pseudo-cheeze appropriate for TV.
As Maggie Murphy, the editorial director of Parade puts it: "If you were looking for a doctor, this would be your guy. There's always a need for a doctor, especially since George Clooney left ER."