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NBC Prescribes Health Series

Mar 29, 2004  •  Post A Comment

At a time when other distributors have stopped offering shows for first-run weekly syndication, NBC Enterprises is pumping up its lineup with the planned fall launch of “Your Total Health.”
NBC Enterprises is in talks with the NBC-owned stations and others to carry the weekly half-hour program, which will be hosted by “Dateline NBC” correspondent Hoda Kotb and will be produced through NBC News. Dr. David Agus, a renowned physician in the division of medical oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, will serve as medical consultant. The distributor is expected to deliver 39 to 42 episodes next season.
NBC Enterprises President Ed Wilson said the series is designed to fill a gap in informative programming on station lineups and deliver news that can’t be found elsewhere. In addition, stations expect to tap new advertisers for the show.
“We believe that `Your Total Health’ will give stations an opportunity to attract more local health-care and pharmaceutical money for the stations while providing the viewer with answers to the pressing health issues of the week,” he said. “Stations are extremely interested, and with the cancellation of `B. Smith With Style’ stations have an attractive option to fill the hole in their lineup.”
Mr. Wilson noted that he plans to let stations air three-minute local “donuts” inside the show to give markets the ability to localize the show with segments focusing on regional concerns.
Each episode will feature professionals from the medical industry who focus on the latest breakthroughs, health-care trends and treatments in the field. Producers say the show will move beyond the headlines to help viewers understand the best ways to keep themselves and their families healthy in both body and mind.
“One of the biggest issues facing this country is health care,” said NBC News President Neal Shapiro. “We cover it in different dimensions here every week. I feel it would be great to have one show which can be the focus of our energies and play well to the public affairs syndication audience.”
Mr. Shapiro noted that the addition of Ms. Kotb as host adds a dimension to the series that will appeal to audiences who are confused by medical expert lingo. “She has a great ability to deal with very complex issues but at the same time try to find an approach related to the concerns of average regular viewers,” he said. “That is key to making this show successful.”
Meanwhile, medical consultant Dr. Agus said a series of this nature couldn’t have been shot until now.
“We are at a remarkable time in medicine,” he explained. “We now have new drugs that work and back then we just didn’t have the information we now know. The goal of the show is to empower patients. Health-care information is driven by press releases instead of facts, and we want viewers to know the truth. Incorporating NBC News tells audiences that the information they see here comes from a trusted and dependable source.”
“Your Total Health” joins the thriving NBC Enterprises weekly series “The Chris Matthews Show” on the airwaves. For the week ending March 21, “The Chris Matthews Show,” now in its second season, delivered a 2.2 household. That means it beat “Face the Nation’s” 2.0 rating, “This Week’s” 1.8 and “Fox News Sunday’s” 1.3, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data.
NBC Enterprises also distributes weekly series “The Wall Street Journal Report” and “Rebecca’s Garden,” among others.