Dr. Drew Pinsky is putting an end to Celebrity Rehab, his reality series on VH1, after revealing that he’s “tired of taking all the heat” for the deaths of five of its former cast members.
Following the suicide of country star and Celebrity Rehab alum Mindy McCready, Pinsky was faced with mounting accusations of on-air exploitation.
“It’s very stressful and very intense for me,” Pinsky said in a radio interview with Zach Sang and the Gang (via Today.com). “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?”
Pinsky made it clear that he has no intention of going forward with another season, saying, “I don’t have plans to do that again. I’m tired of taking all the heat. It’s just ridiculous.”
Five former cast members of the show have died since the series’ inception. In February, McCready — who had appeared on the VH1 reality show in 2009 — committed suicide after a long battle with substance abuse. Meanwhile, Rodney King died in June 2012 in an accidental drowning, with cocaine and alcohol found in his system. In addition, Taxi star Jeff Conaway, Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr and Real World cast member Joey Kovar rank among the late cast members of the reality series.
Critics have condemned Pinsky as an exploitative figure, utilizing troubled stars for personal gain. The Hollywood Reporter documents the controversy:
Substance-abuse expert Bob Forrest, his right-hand man on the series, defended Pinsky at the time, telling THR: “These are hardcore, decades-long f—-ups and alcoholics who have decimated their careers and their lives. You’ve got to be awfully desperate and often close to hopeless to come on our show. But everybody’s looking for somebody to blame, so it’s going to be Dr. Drew.”
Season six of Pinsky’s Rehab dropped “celebrity” from its title and eliminated the fame factor from process-group sessions entirely. It had an eight-week run in early 2012.
“It’s sad that we’re not doing more shows because people did get help,” Pinsky said. “A lot of people are sober because of Celebrity Rehab who wouldn’t have been sober without it.”
Recently, Pinsky reunited with his former Loveline radio partner Adam Carolla for The Adam & Dr. Drew Show, a new podcast series that has proven to be a smash hit.