Daytime Emmy-winning talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz has a lot going on these days. With his TV mentor Oprah Winfrey having vacated the daytime airwaves for her OWN channel, his Dr. Oz talker is inheriting numerous timeslots across the country and finds itself amid a changing daytime landscape, where celebrity talk shows and lifestyle programming are taking over.
One such lifestyle show coming to our screens in January of 2012 is The Revolution, a weight loss docudrama, featuring obese housewives trying to lose massive amounts of weight in a short amount of time. The Revolution, which will take the place of long-running soap opera One Life to Live on ABC, will join such rapid weight loss-themed series as NBC's The Biggest Loser, ABC primetime's recent Extreme Makeover: Weigh Loss Edition and countless others on the TV dial. I asked Oz what he thought of shows like these, which I've dubbed "fat porn" because of America's insatiable appetite for tuning in and watching morbidly obese people struggle to lose weight quickly. Are these shows realistic?
"I love that," he said laughing at my nickname for the rash of weight loss-themed programming. "I've never heard 'fat porn' before! I don't think they're realistic, I do think they provide a service, because they give you hope. Hope is not wishing the right thing will happen. Hope is making sense of what's going on in your life. When you see these people figure out what they're doing wrong, you can take lessons from them."
Oz recalled the 100th episode of his talk show which profiled 100 formerly obese people who had each lost 100 pounds or more.
"Richard Simmons was on the show with me, he cried at every act," he joked. 'When I asked [the guests], all hundred, 'What's your tip? How have you lost 100 pounds and kept it off?' You know what they told me? Everyone one of them gave the same answer. It's about self-esteem. 'When I realized I was worth it, the weight came off.' So I think these weight loss shows, because they take you into the psyche of these people, as well as beat them up and put them through things you can't normally do, gets that point across."
Yeah well, I'd still rather watch One Life to Live in my pajamas, while eating Double Stuffed Oreos.
The Dr. Oz Show airs daily in syndication. Check your local listings.