2016 has been a pretty eventful one for a lot of people, and Dr. Drew Pinsky certainly knows something about that. His longtime radio show Loveline came to a close earlier this year, and now TV viewers will also be getting a lot less of him, as HLN has pulled the plug on his health-centered series Dr. Drew on Call. The network hasn't been forthcoming with a reason for the cancellation, but this appears to be a case of extremely low ratings coupled with the public backlash he has received over the past week due to comments made about Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Perhaps the show could have survived one without the other, but both at once were a death knell.
To address the second point first, Dr. Drew Pinsky appeared on the KABC radio show McIntyre in the Morning last week and spoke about how he and another physician had recently gone over some of Hillary Clinton's publicly released medical records. Their conclusion was that she is receiving "sort of 1950-level care" from her regular physician, name-checking certain problems mentioned in the reports and some reportedly outdated practices and medicines, eventually saying that the healthcare she's receiving may be a concern. And as you can imagine, people went nuts over this assertion on both sides of the party aisle, with Dr. Drew's claims fueling all kinds of fires.
In CNN Money's report, both the statements from the host and the network were polite and cordial and didn't address anything about the actual decision, but it's slightly difficult to call "coincidence" on the cancellation news coming just a week after he made those comments. It was more likely the healthcare-slamming straw that broke the camel's back, since it wasn't even the first time he'd been criticized for making unfounded remarks about Hillary Clinton's health. (Earlier this year, he hinted at a brain injury being behind an incident at a debate, later apologizing when it clearly wasn't the case.)
It's likely Dr. Drew on Call wouldn't have lasted too much longer anyway, regardless of what he said about Clinton. The show debuted in 2011, and has at times been the worst rated cable news program during the primetime hours, drawing less than 200,000 viewers. Dr. Drew may be well respected and a TV veteran and whatnot, but no one wants to continue justifying a show's existence if the audience just isn't there for it.
It's possible that HLN will start to rethink some things now that the network has neither Dr. Drew nor Nancy Grace, who left her own series a couple of months ago. Her ratings weren't crushing the competition either, but she was still one of the biggest draws the network had. Perhaps there's another way for HLN to make its presence known in the cable news world in the future. Maybe they'll try to bring Loveline back or something.
The final episode of Dr. Drew on Call will air on Thursday, September 22. After that, HLN will fill the slot with Forensic Files repeats and other CNN original series.