It’s off to the land of Dr. Oz once again for Peter DeLucia.
Lewisboro’s deputy town supervisor finished taping his sixth appearance on the popular television show just yesterday and spoke to The Ledger about his experiences in the studio down at legendary 30 Rockefeller Center.
“I enjoy the whole thing tremendously,” he said. “I’m very comfortable up there on the stage in front of a live audience of about 250 people. I am able to relax and really have a good time with the whole thing.”
To date, Mr. DeLucia, assistant commissioner of the Bureau of Public Health Protection, Westchester County Department of Health, has appeared in several segments designed to give important public health information to viewers.
“All of the segments are designed to enlighten consumers and give them information to protect them and their families against everyday dangers that can impact their health,” Mr. DeLucia said. “For example, Second Hand Health Hazards focused on some of the dangers posed by items purchased at flea markets and tag sales, including insect infestation.”
Mr. DeLucia’s appearances on the Dr. Oz Show started with a phone call from the deputy commissioner of health.
“He told me he had gotten a call from the show and they were looking for a woman from our department to do some segments,” he said. “The deputy commissioner instead recommended me and I spoke to a representative of the show.
“I gave him my Facebook information and links to the restaurant show Dining Out in Lewisboro, produced by my friend and TV mentor Henri Wolfe, which I had been doing on LCTV. I passed muster and the next call was from one of the show’s producers, Ann Varney.”
After a few more phone conversations, the deal was done. “For the first show, I met the crew in White Plains to do Would Your Home Kitchen Pass a Health Inspection,” he said.
“Five homemakers had been told they were going to be part of a cooking show, but then I had to knock on their doors and tell the real nature of the taping — I was going to inspect their kitchens for health hazards. Three of the five were willing. We did the taping and rated the ladies. I then made a suggestion the producers liked. I took over the segment and we went to Dr. Oz’s home in New Jersey and did an inspection in his kitchen, which revealed health hazards that included some ancient wooden spoons and the family cat strolling across the counters.”
Mr. DeLucia’s first outing on the show was an unqualified success, with him taking to the format like the proverbial fish to water.
“Ever since then I have been going back to do a couple of shows a year. We have a lot of fun and I enjoy representing Westchester County and Lewisboro on a national level. I am honored to be the one Dr. Oz turns to when he wants this type of public health segment. If I didn’t do really well on the first one, I wouldn’t have been asked back.”
In the groove
Now that Mr. DeLucia has become a Dr. Oz “regular,” he has gotten used to the routine of taping a show.
“We film at the famous 30 Rockefeller Center,” he said. “Our studio is right next to the one used by Jimmy Fallon, and 30 Rock has been used by Bob Hope, Jack Paar, and Johnny Carson, among many other legendary people. It’s a rare chance and an honor to be in their environment. I find it awesome.”
Mr. DeLucia said the Dr. Oz producers send a car and driver to pick him up when filming day arrives.
“We go to 30 Rock and security escorts me to my dressing room, where I meet with the producer. We go over the script and subject matter and have a rehearsal before taping. The rehearsal is usually very quick because they want the segment to be spontaneous. We don’t use teleprompters but rely on memorization and lots of ad-libs, something I am fortunately pretty good at. They are also happy to let me make a few jokes.”
After the rehearsal, it’s time for “hair and makeup.”
“I wear my own clothes, bringing a couple of extra shirts and ties for wardrobe to check out,” Mr. DeLucia said. “The makeup artist goes over my face to remove shine and shadows, and my hair, which is short, is pretty much left alone. I then sit there and wait my turn on the show.”
Once he gets the signal, Mr. DeLucia walks out onto the stage to greet Dr. Oz in front of “250 screaming people who have been warmed up by a comedian.”
“I just walk out there and do it,” he said. “My segments average about four minutes, and a few have required more than a single taping if field production work was involved.”
When asked by The Ledger why this was so easy for him, Mr. DeLucia said he had always enjoyed being in front of an audience. “There is always nervous energy, but I have the ability to relax,” he said. “If anything, I have to rein myself in to keep my comments short and to the point. As everyone knows, I have no problem with talking.”
He also cited his 20 years of experience in public and environmental health. “I have a good background for covering these types of issues,” be said. “I have plenty of field experience with real people in real life.”
Mr. DeLucia said Dr. Mehmet Oz is “a great guy” who is very easy to work with, as are the show’s Emmy award-winning producers, including Ann Varney and Laura Swalm.
“By this time, I feel like a ‘regular’ on the show,” he said. “Being in the television environment has also been good for my health. I have lost 30 pounds, using tips on diet and exercise given to me by Dr. Oz. All in all, it’s been a great experience, one that I would like to continue indefinitely.”
Mr. DeLucia is currently serving his second term on the Lewisboro Town Board. He lives in Vista with his wife, Kim, and their 8-year-old twins, Justin and Lauren.