Drew Pinsky, the L.A. doctor best known for treating addicted celebrities on his VH1 reality shows, says he pulled the plug on “Celebrity Rehab” because of the “heat” directed his way following the deaths of celebrities he treated.
That means the show will not return for a seventh season.
Pinsky talked about the show and why he ended it in a recent radio interview reported here by The Hollywood Reporter. According to the THR account of the interview, Pinsky said he was “tired of taking all the heat” following the deaths of celebrities who had appeared on his VH1 shows “Celebrity Rehab” and its spinoff “Sober House.”
Unfortunately, five celebrities formerly seen on the shows died in the years following their appearances — which dealt with their addiction battles and Dr. Drew’s attempts to help them.
The five were: Country singer Mindy McCready, actor Jeff Conaway, rocker Mike Starr, “Real World” star Joey Kovar and Rodney King. None of their deaths were ever linked directly to the show or to Dr. Pinsky.
“It’s very stressful and very intense for me,” Pinsky said about the criticism leveled at him following each death. “To have people questioning my motives and taking aim at me because people get sick and die because they have a life-threatening disease, and I take the blame? … Rodney King has a heart attack and I take blame for that?”
“I don’t have plans to do that again,” he said. “I’m tired of taking all the heat. It’s just ridiculous.”
Our take: We happen to think Dr. Drew has a point. We watched “Celebrity Rehab” a lot when it was on, and we always felt that the doctor and his team had all of the best intentions when it came to treating their high-strung, Type-A patients. And, as he and the other counselors at the rehab facility pointed out constantly, rehab doesn’t work for everyone.
In the radio interview, Dr. Drew defended his record of success in treating the celebrity patients who appeared on his shows. “It’s sad that we’re not doing more shows because people did get help,” he said. “A lot of people are sober because of ‘Celebrity Rehab’ who wouldn’t have been sober without it.”
“Celebrity Rehab” aired for six seasons, from 2008 to 2012.