updated 10/27/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 10/27/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST
Starting Oct. 20, the couple will bring their own brand of candor—and that dandy organ collection—to TV screens nationwide in Second Opinion with Doctor Oz, a Discovery Channel series in which CSI meets Entertainment Tonight. Designed to demystify the human body through graphic photography and frank talk with celebrity guests and ordinary patients, the show tries "to take you outside of your comfort zone," says Oz, 43, director of the Cardiovascular Institute of Columbia University's New York-Presbyterian Hospital. "We show real anatomy—not to spook you but because there's no better way to get you to realize what your body is really all about."
Celebrities? Talking about their medical problems? Unlikely but true. In one segment Oprah Winfrey discusses getting serious about shedding pounds after years of yo-yo dieting. "I've dieted to get into jeans. I've dieted for the Oscars," she says (moments after Oz displayed 30 lbs. of human fat). "But when my heart started to give me palpitations...I realized the weight of my life, the weight that I'm carrying physically, mentally, emotional weight, has got to be resolved." Other notables: José Feliciano, who talks about being blind, and New York Yankees manager Joe Torre, who recalls the day he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. "The first thing that came to my mind was my daughter," he says, "and I said, 'I wanna be around for her.' "
Surprisingly, persuading the stars to open up wasn't that hard, says Oz, who is active on the medical charity circuit, performs 400 heart surgeries a year and is famous for pairing modern technology with ancient healing arts like reflexology and aromatherapy. "The pitch that Lisa and I made was, 'You've been blessed with a lot of things. This is a relatively painless way of giving back,' " says Mehmet, the son of Turkish immigrants, who worked his Rolodex of former patients and contacts.
To keep his own body in shape, Oz, 6'1" and 187 lbs., follows a whole-foods diet, does yoga daily and plays in a hockey league. "If he says, 'I should lose 5 lbs.,' four days later he's lost it," says Lisa, 40, whose father, a Philadelphia heart surgeon, introduced her to her future husband over dinner in 1983. "He was the sexiest man I'd ever encountered." Today, the couple and their children—Daphne, 17, Arabella, 12, Zoë, 8, and Oliver, 4—live in an Italian-style villa in Cliffside Park, N. J., with views of Manhattan and a basketball court in the basement.
Working on the show will do more than just improve the family's already healthy bottom line. "[During my lifetime as a surgeon], I'll touch only 10,000 lives at the most," says Oz, who hopes to broaden his reach via cable. "He's very charismatic," says one guest, diet doctor Dean Ornish. "This show is the next best thing to having him right next to you."
Lynda Wright and Danielle Dubin in Cliffside Park