Discovery Health Channel Will Talk 'Strictly Sex’

Discovery Health Channel has signed up radio personality Dr. Drew Pinsky to host a new sex-oriented series that will premiere in the second quarter of 2005.

The 10-episode series, Strictly Sex with Dr. Drew, will deal with sexual issues and relationships, with Drew interacting with and fielding questions from a studio audience, said Discovery Health officials. Drew, who has co-hosted the nationally syndicated call-in radio show Loveline for 18 years, also hosted the TV version of Loveline on MTV: Music Television in the mid-1990s.

Strictly Sex effectively replaces the network’s first genre show, Berman and Berman, which has ceased production after two years on the air. Discovery Health will continue to air previous episodes of the series, which had a strong female following.

Discovery Health Channel senior vice president and general manager Eileen O’Neill hopes Strictly Sex will draw more viewers — particularly young men — to the 55-million-subscriber network.

“We’re looking for opportunities to bring more men to the network, and hopefully Strictly Sex will do that,” O’Neill said.

In other Discovery Health news, the network has named Saturday Night Live alumnus Ellen Cleghorne as host of its National Body Challenge series, bowing Jan. 20. Cleghorne will introduce each of the six series segments, with each focusing on one individual’s struggle with weight issues.

The series is part of the network’s second annual “National Body Challenge” initiative that pushes Americans to improve their health and shed extra pounds.

O’Neill said Discovery Health will start registering participants, beginning Dec. 28, for the eight-week promotion, in which participants will have access to free online diet and nutrition resources via the network’s Web site (, as well as a free eight-week Bally Total Fitness trial membership.

To be eligible, participants must “weigh in” at Discovery Channel stores around the country Jan. 15-16 and “weigh out” on March 12.

In addition to Bally’s, Discovery has also lined up sponsors, including Secret antiperspirant, Kellogg’s Special K cereal and PepsiCo.’s Smart Spot brand of low-fat food products (see page 20).

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.