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MTV To Air Its Now-Ironic DJ AM Reality Series

A week after the New York Medical Examiners office announced a celebrity DJ died after downing a lethal cocktail of cocaine and prescription drugs, MTV announced it will go ahead and air a reality series in which that DJ recruits young addicts for rehab.

DJ AM, whose real name was Adam Goldstein, died of an accidental drug overdose in August. (AP)

The eight-episode series "Gone Too far," hosted by Adam Goldstein, aka DJ AM, will debut Oct. 12 -- one week after it was originally scheduled to be unveiled.

That original launch plan was scrubbed when Goldstein as found dead in his Manhattan apartment with a laundry list of drugs in his stomach and throat, and MTV had been unwilling to discuss whether it was even contemplating a run at salvaging the reality series. Ironically, the show was yanked just days after another of Viacom's so-called MTV Networks cable nets was forced to scrub two reality series after a guy who'd been cast in both shows was named the only suspect in the death of his onetime wife and then turned up dead himself in a motel in Canada.
MTV made sure to note on Monday it was going ahead with the telecast of "Gone Too Far" "with the consent and support" Goldstein's family.

MTV also made sure to include a statement from Goldstein's family saying that "after careful consideration we have decided to air the show" because it would show "the side of Adam that we knew and loved," and because of their "profound belief that it will inspire others to seek help."
But that's not all. MTV's announcement also included a quote from the executive vice president of the Parntership for a Drug-Free America, Sean Clarkin, saying "Recovering can be extremely difficult and requires constant attention...but it's important to know that it is, in fact, possible to present examples of people who are recognizing the need for treatment and beginning that journey."

Nicely played, MTV!

In "Gone Too Far," young addicts are given recording devices to show viewers how they procure and ingest drugs. In the first episode, Goldstein is sent into a bodega to buy a crack pipe to demonstrate how easy that is, according to an account of the first episode written by the publication Entertainment Weekly, which had received an early version of the episode just days before Goldstein was found dead in his Manhattan apartment -- along with a crack pipe, as well as bottles of prescription drugs. It is not clear whether it was the same crack pipe; MTV did not respond to a request for an interview. Cocaine was among the substances found in Goldstein's body, New York City Medical Examiner's office rep Ellen Borakove told The TV Column, as well as levamisole, a drug that is used to cut coke.

Also found in his body were OxyContin, Vicodin, Ativan, Klonopin, Zanax, and Benadryl.

The show will not be re-edited in the wake of Goldstein's death, an MTV rep told the TV Column last week.

MTV greenlit "Gone Too Far" after finding itself out of date and out of viewers, and deciding what it needed were more pro-social reality shows.

The producers of "Gone Too Far" gave young addicts recording devices so they could show viewers how they shoot up heroin, huff spray paint, or whatever is their drug and entry-system of choice, according to footage shown to TV critics at the Summer TV Press Tour.

Then, Goldstein would use his I've-been-there tough-love technique in an intervention to persuade the addict to go into rehab -- or persuade them that a stint in rehab was the price of reality-TV stardom. Whatever.

The show also glommed on to the distraught/clueless state of the addicts' family members, catching them as they prepared for the Goldstein-led intervention, saying things on-camera they hopefully will live to regret -- but which make for very riveting television, according to those clips shown to the press in July.

And yet, when Goldstein's body was discovered in his apartment, MTV asked the media to "respect" the privacy of Goldstein's family, which was pretty rich.

MTV development chief Tony Di Santo told the press at the July conference that the show was part of the network's "new aspirational and optimistic brand filter." The show's executive producer, Michael Hirschhorn huffed and puffed in an outraged way when some members of the press asked him where he thought the line was at which a show had entertainment value but was capitalizing on the pain and suffering of others, snapping back that "in every case" they got the addicts to help.

Except, turns out, their star. Who, weeks later, turned up dead and in the company of drug paraphernalia and a boatload of prescription drugs, throwing the series' future into doubt.
MTV Networks recently lost a bundle when its Vh1 network had to dump two new reality series. Just one week before Goldstein was found dead, Vh1 had finally thrown in the towel on "Megan Wants a Millionaire" when authorities declared one of that show's contestants, Ryan Jenkins, to be the only suspect in the death of his onetime wife Jasmine Fiore. Vh1 had already telecast a few episodes of the competition series but yanked it when Fiore was found dead in a dumpster in Buena Park, California, and cops named Jenkins a "person of interest."

And though Vh1 dragged its feet, it was ultimately forced to also cancel "I Love Money 3" in which Jenkins also competed, after he was found dead, having apparently committed suicide. That edition of "I Love Money" was in the can and had been scheduled to debut in January of '10.
Shortly after Goldstein's death, one of the Hollywood trade papers suggested that if "Gone" was ever telecast, it would "impart its anti-drug message perhaps now even more so."

And yet, we are skeptical, because -- oh yeah, it's going to air on MTV.

Back in July, another of the show's executive producers, Paul Rosenberg, told TV critics "when you meet [Goldstein] as a person, the thing that really strikes you and that he really drives home quickly -- and to a point almost where you're off-put about it -- is his sobriety."

By Lisa de Moraes  |  October 5, 2009; 2:10 PM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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As a recovering alcoholic (and dabbler in other substances at one time as well), the very premise of Goldstein's show in disturbing. Taking a person in recovery and throwing him back into the maelstrom of addiction, even as a reporter and observer, could obviously act as a trigger to reignite addiction, especially if the person had only a fairly brief sobriety. That they showed Goldstein demonstrating how easy it is to buy a crack pipe in NYC, only for the medical examiner to later find a crack pipe by his dead body, is a pathetic and sad commentary on this travesty.

Posted by: jhpurdy | October 5, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

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