Bravo relentlessly teases, then includes, Doug Blasdell’s death on Work Out

Three weeks ago, an AP story said that Work Out trainer Doug Blasdell’s death would be addressed in the show’s fourth episode. Instead, that aired last night, the Bravo docudrama’s seventh episode.

Trainer Brian Peeler tells After Elton about the chronology of Doug’s illness, saying that he ‘knew Doug was sick shortly after we finished season one. He had lymphoma cancer and he was doing chemo.” Later, Doug got salmonella poisoning, which led to kidney failure, “a staph infection from the dialysis in his neck which ultimately kills his liver and his pancreas. … His heart stopped. They resuscitated him on Saturday. They said if it happened again, they weren’t going to do it again. So on Sunday, his close friends were around him. I couldn’t be there because it happened too rapidly, [but] they were all around him and his heart slowly went down in beats until it stopped.”

Brian notes that the show “[didn't] say how he passed. It’s published on the Bravo website how he passed. They let it go on my blog. I had heard people saying he was a coke head and meth head and steroids. Stupid stuff. And it was really pissing me off. … Now that he’s dead, I think people should know what happened. Instead of coming up with bogus ideas and saying bogus stuff about him, I wanted his name to be taken right. I don’t want his name to be trashed.”

Brian also says that the show is “trying handle it sensitively,” which was basically true, as the episode concluded with some slow-motion footage of Doug and then a title card that said “Doug Blasdell/December 14, 1962 – January 22, 2007.” Next week’s episode, the preview suggested, will deal with the aftermath of his death.

But Bravo has been teasing Doug’s death all week, repeatedly showing Peeler sobbing at a desk, the scene that the concluded the episode. Besides a phone call between Brian and Doug, the show only spent its last four minutes on Doug’s illness. In other words, we had to wait 56 minutes for the scene that they’d teased all week.

And Bravo’s relentless promotion of the episode bordered on the uncomfortably sensational. For example, the network’s web site had a big splash graphic that said “tune in for the most emotional Work Out ever.” (The web site does include a prominent link to the Doug Blasdell Foundation.)

Most appalling of all, though, annoying blogging VP Andy Cohen used Doug’s death as a lead-in to another one of his self-serving, name-dropping, I’m-cooler-than-you posts. Here’s what he wrote:

“I want to write more about Doug tomorrow after you’ve seen the episode. Grab a hanky because this show tonight is really sad.

Ok buckle up, though because I am making a COMPLETE RIGHT TURN…

I went to a sangria party last night at a friend’s house. The plan was to pick up Amy Sedaris on my way over to the dinner.” …

Pathetic and shameless.

Work Out’s Brian Peeler on Doug Blasdell’s Death [After Elton]
Amy Sedaris Works a Switch [Bravo]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.