“If you had told me this years ago, that I’d be here, I would have been between calling a psychiatrist or punching you.” – Dr. Drew Pinsky.
We’re losing track of how many shows he has on TV, but Dr. Drew isn’t done yet. This fall, the “Celebrity” doctor will add a daytime program to his packed slate, “Lifechangers,” premiering this fall at 3 p.m. on The CW. That will be in addition to hosting his HLN show in the evenings and “Loveline” at night (“Celebrity Rehab” and “Sober House” are currently on hold).
Pinsky talked with TV critics Thursday in Beverly Hills, where he faced questions about his possible over-exposure and how he will differentiate himself from the other doctor shows in the daytime pack (like “Dr. Oz” and “The Doctors”).
The first thing to know about “Lifechangers” is that it won’t be rehabbing any celebrities.
“One of the things that comes across my Twitter feed all time is “How come you don’t just deal with regular folks? Why the celebrities?” And in point of fact, when we originally conceived of “Celebrity Rehab,” I wanted regular people in with the celebrities, to make that point. But it became increasingly clear to me that regular people can’t really consent for that. They don’t know what that feels like to be filmed when this kind of work is being done. So I’m very anxious that here we deal with mostly regular people.”
We’ll also see a more personal side of the good doctor:
“This is a show where I have a chance to do much more … and bring myself and my family into it … My home life. My wife is going to participate in it. I’ve got 18 year old triplets that are going off to college. And my life is changing a lot right now, it’s funny. I get in front of people; I get emotional.”
What does Dr. Drew think of the accusations that his increasing presence on TV is giving some the perception that he’s turning into a “fame whore”?
“I find it kind of curious,” Pinsky laughs. “I understand how they could think that, but I’ve chosen to do television, and there’s some opportunities to do things that I want to do, that I like to do, that help people.”
“He does reach a wider audience this way,” says exec producer Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey, “and he HAS turned down projects too.”
“But there aren’t going to be more shows,” Drew added. “I’ve filled my day up.”
In one “Lifechangers” preview clip shown to reporters, a woman with badly damaged teeth gets a beautiful new set of choppers … and that small change has a major impact on her life, something that means a lot to Pinsky.
“If on my tombstone it says ‘he made a difference,’ I will be happy,” Drew says.
So what other kinds of change-your-life moments can we expect on the show? How about taking a sip of Pinsky’s “Loveline,” with a twist.
“We have a giant ‘Love Lab’,” reveals Dempsey of one element of the show. “If you introduce somebody or teach them how to date and give them the tools to navigate that crazy world of dating … nobody ever gets a marriage checkup, but you get your car checked up. So in our ‘Love Lab,’ we really are going to effect change.”
“Dr. Drew has done ‘Loveline’ for 30 years,” she added. “This is our version of it, but we’ll have the best therapists. We’ll have the best matchmakers. We’ll have the best in every field trying to explode the paradigm and teach you how to live a better life, even a better dating life.”
Let the experiment begin.