Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of HNL’s popular “Dr. Drew on Call,” will be leaving the network next month.
In a statement, CNN Executive Vice President Ken Jautz said, “Dr. Drew and I have mutually agreed to air the final episode of his show on September 22.”
Pinsky appeared Aug. 17 on KABC’s “McIntyre in the Morning” show, where he was highly critical of both Hillary Clinton’s health and the health care she receives.
“Based on the information that she has provided and her doctors have provided, we were gravely concerned not just about her health, but her health care,” Pinsky said on the radio show, which was transcribed by The Washington Free Beacon.
“Both of us [a medical colleague of his] concluded that if we were providing the care that she was receiving, we’d be ashamed to show up in a doctor’s lounge. We’d be laughed out. She’s receiving sort-of 1950-level care by our evaluation,” Pinsky continued.
So was Pinsky canned for speaking out about Clinton’s health? It’s tempting to connect those dots since the media is defending her health so fiercely.
But the timing here may very well be coincidental. Or, at least, equal weight should be given to the notion that the network is currently engaged in overhauling its lineup with the departure of headliner Nancy Grace in June. Pinsky’s show usually ranked dead last in its time slot, so pulling it was a “no brainer” as Deadline suggests.
In its latest reboot, HLN is going for more straight news fare, add shows hosted by CNN’s Erica Hill, Michaela Pereira and Banfield. Drew’s departure is a no-brainer, given the show’s ratings; far bigger was HLN star Nancy Grace’s announcement in June that she was calling it a wrap when her contract expires in October.
If Pinsky’s popularity matched that of Nancy Grace, we could indeed point the finger at the network for trying to silence a critic. And you can’t entirely dismiss the notion that Pinsky’s comments on Clinton’s health played a role in his ouster.
But unless some other evidence surfaces — perhaps from Pinsky himself — it seems probable that this was normal turnover in the TV business and nothing more.