Thursday, January 31, 2008

Montel Says Goodbye to TV! May Leave PhRMA's PPA Program Also

According to an AP story, "Syndicated talk show host Montel Williams is being replaced by a younger version of himself. CBS Television Distribution announced Wednesday that 'The Montel Williams Show' will cease production after this television season, his 17th on the air. Instead, stations that carried his show will be offered a series of Williams reruns."

Recall that not too long ago Montel was in some hot water after he threatened an intern working for a local newspaper in Savannah, GA (see "Montel Williams: Zero Tolerance for a Pharma Celebrity Spokesperson Gone Bad"). This was of interest to us bloggers in the Pharma BlogosphereTM because he made the threat while working for PhRMA as the celebrity spokesperson for the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) program.

The question is, will PhRMA soon announce that Montel's PPA gig will also be canceled? And does all this have anything to do with the "blow up" incident?

I think the answer is "Yes" to the first question and "No" to the second.

Although 84% of people who responded to my poll thought PhRMA should fire Montel over the blow up incident, I think he will be let go because,in general, his behavior is a bot erratic lately -- he's acting like a "loose cannon."

Here's an example from a Fox show where he was asked his opinion about the death of movie star Heath Ledger. He was asked this, the anchor-person said, because he was a "some who knows how it can be under the glare of the celebrity microscope." Here's the video:

Montel was "repulsed by all the coverage" and rightly suggested that Fox was not spending enough time about deaths of other young people. "How many people have died in Iraq since January 1?" he asked. Of course he meant only American troops, not Iraqi civilians.

Anyway, he was way off subject and at one point said "I don't need them," referring to ratings. That seems strange for a celebrity to say.

Personally, I think Montel's meds are making him "mad as hell and he won't take it any more!" That along with the loss of the celebrity "creds" that having his own TV show gave him, leads me to believe that Montel will soon retire as the PhRMA spokesperson.

If you are interested in reading more about the the 'dos & don'ts' and 'pros & cons' of using medical and non-medical mouthpieces for pharma PR and DTC advertising, please read the article "Use of Celebrities for PR and DTC Advertising," which appeared in the January, 2008 issue of Pharma Marketing News.

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