Has Dr. Drew Sold Out?
Dr. Drew Pinsky
On a recent episode of Dr. Drew Pinsky's new daytime show Lifechangers, 17-year-old fame oddity Courtney Stodden laid on an examination table in front of a live studio audience while an ultrasound technician poked and prodded her before making this pronouncement: Stodden's breasts are real!
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The whole spectacle seemed a bit beneath Pinsky, who is often considered the stark voice of reason in an age of overexposed celebrities and tabloid rumors. Had Pinsky officially sold out? Pinsky acknowledges that he agreed to "settle the score" regarding Stodden's plastic surgery, but that, in exchange Stoddard and her husband, Lost actor Doug Hutchison, 51, were supposed to discuss their controversial January-December relationship. It didn't work out that way. "We didn't set it up properly; we didn't get anywhere in understanding their relationship," Pinsky confesses. "So yea, it was... 'one of those episodes.' It's a new show and we're still trying to figure out how to do this stuff."
In his defense, Pinsky probably can't be expected to get it right every time. Between Lifechangers, Loveline, his self-titled show on HLN, his part-time medical practice, and Celebrity Rehab, the guy's got a lot on his plate.
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Next up: Rehab's sixth season premieres Sunday, Nov. 20 on VH1, and it's being called Celebrity Rehab "Revisited." Unlike previous seasons, Pinsky will check in on some of the show's most notorious former patients, including Rodney King, Andy Dick, Heidi Fleiss, and Janice Dickinson.
When Pinsky, 53, was pitched the series five years ago, he doubted it could ever work. He worried about two things: the cameras and the motivation. "Most of the people come on to this program because they want to be on TV and they want to make money," he says. "I don't really want to help people that are not interested in getting well."
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Five seasons later, though, Pinsky understands the show's effectiveness. "So many of the patients ended up really valuing the treatment that they got," he says. "And even if they didn't fully embrace sobriety, they still had a transformative experience." Take Tom Sizemore, for example, he says. "Tom is an amazing success story. We worked with him for years before he ever came on Celebrity Rehab and we could never get him sober. And by the grace of God he got sober on the show — and that's amazing."
Pinsky's track record is comparable to that of non-celebrity rehab programs: Some stay sober, but many continue to battle the disease. The show features both eventualities. For every Sizemore success story, there are also tragic endings. Mike Starr, of the band Alice in Chains, cleaned up on Season 3; less than a year later, he died at age 44. Those closest to Starr say he died of a drug overdose.
Former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr dies at 44
"Our original intent was just to show the work we do," he says. "We got tired of people not understanding what treatment was, and how difficult, painful, and tough it is."
Pinsky insists that his show is 100 percent real — no producers meddling with the patients. "If we ever hear of a story producer pulling somebody aside the way they do on other shows, I would bring the wrath of God down on them," he says. "These are patients in a hospital. They're sick and they're unhappy. If they get near the patients, I will walk off the set."
Celebrity Rehab Revisited premieres Sunday, Nov. 20 at 9/8c on VH1.