LOS ANGELES - You've seen him on MTV, you've heard him on
the radio - giving advice to the frightened, sexually frustrated,
sometimes desperate college students. Now Dr. Drew is taking
his act to the Internet - hoping the college crowd will follow
The celebrity doctor, who has made a career out of advising
young people on matters of relationships, sex and health,
is now Editor in Chief of a Web site bearing his name. DrDrew.com,
Drew Pinsky's latest and most ambitious venture, looks to
fuse the features of traditional media with the anonymity
and interactivity of the Internet.
| "Doing the web cast had a totally different feel from
TV. On an MTV shoot you have the cameras staring
you in the face. Here it just felt like people sitting
down to talk."
DR. DREW PINSKY,
Editor in Chief, drDrew.com
The site will offer a variety of services geared towards
attracting a college audience, including chat rooms, movie
reviews and celebrity interviews. But what really sets Dr.Drew.com
apart from other sites geared at the college crowd is that
it features the first internet webcast of its kind - a live
venue where the audience can call in or chat with Drew, live,
about whatever is troubling them.
At a recent party in Los Angeles to celebrate the site's
launch, actors, comedians, Internet mavens and a few naked
musicians showed up at West Hollywood's Skybar to booze 'n'
schmooze with the site's creators. Those in attendance included
Dr. Drew's "Loveline" co-host Adam Corolla, comedian Jimmy
Kimmel and "Politically Incorrect" host Bill Maher.
Like most Hollywood gatherings, this party had its share
of TV cameras and beautiful people. But unlike premiere parties
for movies, everyone seemed connected to the Internet in some
way. DrDrew.com CEO Curtis Giesen, Managing Editor Jennifer
Maerz and Dr. Drew himself all championed the advantages of
Web-based media while the catch phrases "connectivity" and
"online community" floated around almost as freely as the
Pinsky likened the party atmosphere to the early days of
radio, when the medium seemed loaded with possibilities. But
unlike radio or TV, Pinsky said the live web casts offer a
greater sense of intimacy. "Doing the web cast had a totally
different feel from TV," Pinsky said. "On an MTV shoot you
have the cameras staring you in the face. Here it just felt
like people sitting down to talk."
Drew (right) presents DrDrew.com's CEO, Curtis Giesen
The site's laid-back attitude could be seen in Giesen's attire
- baseball cap and suit - as well as the hip, 20-something
staffers. Maerz, the site's tattooed, 25-year-old Managing
Editor, said the Internet opens up more possibilities for
any kind of story that's happening or affecting people right
now. "With print (magazines) you have to wait a month until
the next issue comes out," Maerz said. "On the Internet you
decide you want to do this and you do it the next day."
The always-moving, always-dapper Dr. Drew posed for pictures
and gave interviews throughout the night, once joking that
in his next life he'd like to give time management seminars
for a living. Juggling career and family hasn't been easy
for the husband and father of triplets, but Dr. Drew said
he's driven by the desire to help as many young people as
Managing Editor, Jennifer Maerz
"When we think about who we want to reach, we think of 20-year-old
college students," Pinsky said. "Kids high school age and
younger emulate the college kids so we looked for the largest
His main mission is helping the 20-something crowd find solutions
to simple and complex health issues. And while he admitted
most college students are covered under their parents' or
school's health care plans, Pinsky said many of them aren't
comfortable sharing their problems with family or strangers.
"For the most part young people don't acknowledge that they
have health care needs or are apprehensive about the traditional
systems," Pinsky said. "What we try to do is influence their
overall health and act as a catalyst for getting treatment."
Towards the end of the night a decidedly un-Dr. Drew moment
occurred. With the open bar giving way to $10 drinks, a member
of the San Diego punk band Unwritten Law and an unidentified
female stripped down to their birthday suits, and jumped into
the pool where the drDrew.com URL was projected. It would
have been a perfect moment for the doctor's psychoanalysis:
My boyfriend likes to get naked in public. What should I do?
But by then Dr. Drew was long gone, having raced off into
the night to fulfill his commitment over the airwaves.