Mindy McCready Is the Fifth 'Celebrity Rehab' Cast Member to Die: Time to Cancel the Show?

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Mindy McCready"I think 'Dr' Drew Pinsky should change his name to Kevorkian. Same results." Singer Richard Marx tweeted this yesterday, before rethinking his choice of words.  "I went too far with the Kevorkian crack," he amended. "It is, however, my opinion that what Dr. D does is exploitation and his TV track record is not good." Marx may have a stronger point of view than most, but he's hardly alone in making note of the disturbing fact that Mindy McCready is the FIFTH Celebrity Rehab alum to die in the past two years.

Mindy McCready, who was 37 and the mother of two young boys, took her own life last Sunday. She had been a contestant on Celebrity Rehab during the show's third season. Out of the nine cast members who participated in that season, three have since died because of different incidents relating to their addictions.

It's hard not to look at the numbers related to Celebrity Rehab and feel uncomfortable. Out of 43 people who have been on the show, five are now dead -- including Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr, Grease star Jeff Conaway, LAPD beating victim Rodney King, Real World star Joey Kovar, and now Mindy McCready.

Celebrity Rehab isn't your typical reality show, of course. Lead by Dr. Drew Pinsky, the show follows a changing cast of celebrities through a 21-day drug rehab clinic. Despite ongoing backlash against the series, it may be that 5 deaths out of 43 cast members is actually good odds considering the unhappy reality of addiction.

Still, there's a lot to question about the value of a television show devoted to turning the addictions of famous faces into entertainment. As Buzzfeed writer Kate Aurther puts it,

If you watched the show as a serious documentary, it had a lot to offer, and was unsparing and often moving. If you watched it as a hilarious spectacle, then — well, it’s hard to figure out how to end this sentence, because I think you’re awful. But reality TV sends these things out into the world, and there’s no controlling what a viewer’s reaction is going to be.

There's no controlling what a participant's reaction might be, either. Yes, they voluntarily went on the show to receive treatment, but what are the repercussions to having your mental health and substance abuse issues filmed, edited, and packaged into a TV show? It feels exploitative, at the very least.

VH1 has no comment on McCready's death, but Drew Pinsky issued a statement saying he was "deeply saddened" by the news, and that Mindy was "a lovely woman who will be missed by many." He also said,

Mental health issues can be life threatening and need to be treated with the same intensity and resources as any other dangerous potentially life threatening medical condition. Treatment is effective. If someone you know is suffering please be sure he or she gets help and maintains treatment.

Just maybe not with Celebrity Rehab, is what I'm thinking. Not that it's currently an option, because it's worth noting that VH1 has quietly benched the show in favor of Rehab with Dr. Drew … which features non-celebrity cast members.

Do you think Celebrity Rehab is a bad reality show idea?

Image via VH1/Celebrity Rehab

reality tv, celebrity death


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peanu... peanutsmommy1

The show is no longer on the air anyways. People with addiction issues will always have a higher rate of death then the "normal" population. These people likely would have died anyways

LostS... LostSoul88

The show has nothing to do with it...

youth... youthfulsoul

Exactly. Something like 95% of those who go through rebab will not remain clean and sober.  I don't think Dr. Drew has anything to do with their deaths.

bills... billsfan1104

Ha ha, I said this on another post


Have to agree with the other posters. These were junkies;addicts. Their lives are already in the toilet. I've never seen this show,so I'm wondering about the people you brought up. They all seem to have HAD celebrity, but were now in the "didn't you used to be" status. Was this their way of trying to be relevant again? Frankly every show that has "celebrity" in their reality show title is scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Tripl... TripleC14

Sad but not shocking that people dealing with addiction and mental health issues have taken their own lives. No need to blame Dr. Drew for their choices.

Wheep... Wheepingchree

Prima - "these were junkies; addicts.  Their lives are already in the toilet." ????? SERIOUSLY??  What a terribly insensitive thing to say.  I have many recovered addicts in my life.  My father-in-law was a heroin addict for 20 years and is clean & sober now.  He's a great man.  People CAN overcome things - I think it's terrible for you to say that their lives are in the toilet.  So...what, that means it's not terrible when someone with a drug or alcohol addiction OR mental illness dies?  You suck.

Mocha... MochaCocoaBean

Approx 9 out of 10 addicts will relaspe after completing a rehab program, all things considered, these are not unimaginable statistics. Also, I believe Jeff Conway died of a blood infection, among other ailments. Albeit, his myraid of health problems were compounded by addiction.


Wheepingchree obviously I am not talking about anyone in your family. This is about a show. If I suck;I suck.

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