A&E has shot an extra episode of its rehab reality series Intervention, updating viewers on four of the addicts the show profiled in its high-rated first season.
The episode, which will air Aug. 21 at 10 p.m., checks in with four of season one’s more compelling subjects: Alyson, a former White House intern who was hooked on heroin and crack; Gabe, a child genius turned compulsive gambler; Sara, an ex-Minnesota beauty queen and crystal meth addict; and Matt, a former sports and academic whiz stuck on crack.
A&E shot new footage for the episode last month, revisiting subjects and their families post-treatment. The special intersperses those updates with footage from the initial episodes, in which families and friends intervene in hopes of helping a loved one in crisis.
A&E checks in on subjects’ progress through calls to their treatment centers. Story, field and executive producers have also forged informal relationships with many of Intervention’s subjects, largely through phone calls the subjects choose to make, says A&E’s senior VP for non-fiction & alternative programming, Nancy Dubuc.
“You’re out there documenting their lives in such a personal way, you can’t help but create a bond with these people,” said Dubuc, who also is Intervention’s executive producer.
Some, including Sara, Alyson and Matt have also spoken publicly about their struggles at town hall-style events around the country coordinated by A&E’s publicity, education and affiliate departments.
Three of the show’s subjects, plus a fourth who is not in the check-in episode, will appear on CNN’s Larry King Live this Friday, Aug. 19, in a show wholly devoted to the series. Syndicated entertainment program The Insider will also air segments about the new episode this week.
The night after the Intervention update, A&E will run hour-long special Meth: A County in Crisis, about a small town in Missouri hit hard by the drug. The show profiles addicts and their families, as well as dealers, hospitals, pharmacies and law enforcement officials.
Although ABC (The Miracle Workers) and NBC (Three Wishes) have slated life-changing reality series of their own this fall, A&E will keep Intervention’s format consistent in its second season, with no dramatic changes slated.
“Obviously when a show strikes a chord the way Intervention has, there will be imitators,” says Dubuc. “The most important thing for us to do is make sure we continue doing this show in a way we think is appropriate and successful and thematic.”
Intervention averaged around 1.3 million total viewers in its first season, which ended July 24, and A&E has slated a second season of around 13 episodes for Oct. Summer repeats of the series have fallen off in the ratings. An episode Aug. 14 at
10 p.m. averaged 883,000 total viewers.