Stations pull ‘Dr. Oz’ off the air after controversial TV doc announces Senate bid

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After the host announcing a bid for U.S. Senate, multiple TV stations have started pulling the syndicated medical talk show “Dr. Oz” from their schedules.

So far, the Associated Press reports that stations in New York, Cleveland and Philadelphia, have all said they will stop airing his show in order to avoid potential conflicts with the FCC’s “equal time” rule that could require the stations to provide Oz’s rival candidates with an equal amount of air time.

Fox Television said it was dropping the show from its owned stations in New York and Philadelphia, WNYW and WTXF, respectively. Portions of Pennsylvania can receive New York TV station signals over the air.

Meanwhile, WJW in Cleveland, Ohio, has yanked the show because its signal reaches parts of Western Pennsylvania.

It’s possible that other TV stations in Pennsylvania that carry the show could also make a similar decision, though it appears that only stations with Pennsylvania registered voters likely to be the bulk of the audience would need to take such action since, for example, a viewer in Los Angeles wouldn’t likely be eligible to vote for Oz.

The equal time rule only applies to over the air signals and does not cover cable or digital platforms.

In the past, some talk shows have made moved to have themselves classified as “news programs” to avoid having to comply with the equal time rule. Regularly scheduled news broadcasts, along with breaking news coverage, documentaries and news interviews are not subject to the requirement.

Even with this protective in place, it’s not uncommon for talk shows to invite the opponent of someone who appears on their show as a courtesy, though this invitation isn’t always accepted.