VH1 requires Celebrity Rehab cast, crew to take herpes meds; Jersey Shore is “a herpes nest”

There’s a big threat on the set of several reality shows, and it is herpes: Both the cast and crew of two major cable reality shows take anti-herpes medication. That was revealed in The Hollywood Reporter’s entertaining roundtable conversation between Jersey Shore producer SallyAnn Salsano, Phil Keoghan, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Kathy Griffin, Dirty Jobs producer Craig Piligian, and Randy Jackson.

VH1 requires those working on Celebrity Rehab to take herpes medication. “The network requires me to do stuff with my patients that has no relevance to anything. Like everyone on the set has to take (herpes medication) Valtrex,” Dr. Drew Pinsky said.

On Jersey Shore, Salsano said, “We hand it out like M&Ms! ‘Hey kids, it’s time for Valtrex!’ It’s like a herpes nest. They’re all in there mixing it up.” She also said that “I do a full medical but I also do a lot of STD stuff,” apparently indicating STD testing.

Speaking of medical things, Phil–who was surprisingly absent for most of the discussion–said “we have medical staff, they go everywhere.” And Dr. Drew said that “the psych testing that is done routinely on reality TV is worthless. They are worthless. They’re good tests, done by good people, but we don’t even know what we need to measure to put people on a reality show.

When Salsano said, I actually find it helpful,” Drew replied, “From a medical standpoint: worthless. I got a profile of (‘Rehab’ participant) Steven Adler and they’re like, ‘You cannot deal with this man, it’s impossible, he’s going to kill himself.’ But I’ve already got him at the hospital, he’s my patient, what are you talking about? I take care of him everyday. It’s not a problem. Give me something useful about what’s likely to happen with cameras (around). But no one knows.”

Awards Watch: Emmy Roundtable — Reality Stars [Hollywood Reporter]

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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.