The 10 Most Memorable TV Interventions

By McCarton Ackerman 03/12/13

Intervention isn’t the only program to show, well, interventions. Check out our roundup of the most bizarre, dramatic and outrageous examples in television history.

Jael Strauss's on-screen moment of truth Photo via

Ruthie Alcaide, The Real World: Hawaii, Season 8 (1999)

The Real World has became synonymous with excessive binge drinking, but the show first "stopped being polite and started getting real" during its Hawaii season due to the alcoholism of cast member Ruthie Alcaide. On day two in the house, Alcaide got so drunk that she had to be rushed to the hospital for alcohol poisoning. A few weeks later, she was filmed drunk driving. Her housemates put on the show’s first ever intervention, ordering Alcaide to go into inpatient rehab or leave the house. She was initially resistant but eventually agreed. “I don’t think I’m an alcoholic, but I do believe that I let alcohol take over my life and I’m ready to take that control back,” she said. Since then, Alcaide has remained sober. She now lives in Los Angeles and promotes alcohol awareness through speaking engagements at colleges across the country.



Taylor Armstrong, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Season 3 (2012) 

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills are known to have a cocktail (or four), but became concerned this season over the excessive boozing of fellow cast member Taylor Armstrong. In an episode that aired on February 25, she was shown “losing” her six-year old daughter as a result of her drinking. Kim Richards, who is now a year sober, led the intervention and accused Armstrong of using alcohol to deal with her feelings. Armstrong, who lost her husband Russell when he committed suicide in 2011, admitted she was using alcohol as a coping mechanism. “I don’t drink very often, but when I drink I find that I can forget a little bit about all the stress I’m under and all the pain I’m feeling,” she said. However, Armstrong never received professional help, and a blog post she wrote after the show also accused Richards of overstepping her bounds. “Dr. Drew, you are not," she wrote.


Danny Bonaduce, Breaking Bonaduce, Season 1 (2005)

In Season 1 of this reality docu-drama, former child actor Danny Bonaduce drank until he blacked out, attempted to drive home drunk and slashed his wrists when he found out his wife Gretchen was hiring male strippers for her 40th birthday party. Gretchen later confided to their therapist, Dr. Garry, that Bonaduce’s alcohol, steroid and painkiller use had taken over their lives and affected their children. Dr. Garry confronted Bonaduce off-camera, refusing to work with him until he received treatment for his addictions. He agreed to treatment and decided to tattoo his first day of sobriety onto his arm as a gesture of his commitment. Despite remaining sober for the rest of the season, his manic and belligerent behavior returned in Season 2, ultimately leading to Gretchen kicking him out of the house and his AA group staging another intervention.



Robb Schreiber, The Real World: St. Thomas, Season 27 (2012)

The Real World’s most recent intervention took place during its St. Thomas season, when cast members became increasingly concerned about Robb’s drinking and self-harm issues. Rob was binge drinking daily throughout the season, stubbed cigarettes out on his arm and punched himself in the face. Fellow cast member Brandon pointed out that "drinking is a downer" for Robb and usually the start of his self-harm. But while Robb agreed to get help for his issues with self-harm, he denied having a drinking problem. "I don’t think, you know, I’m an alcoholic. I think I just drink too much. Appreciate you guys coming out here, though," he said during the intervention.


Jael Strauss, Dr. Phil (2012)

Having been in the top six of America's Top Model, Jael Strauss's family reached out to Dr. Phil to stage an intervention for Strauss's "full blown" crystal meth addiction. She took one look at her family on stage and rushed out of the studio. Dr. Phil followed her onto the streets of Hollywood, stating "this is minute to minute, folks." Finding her on the street, he told her, "This is the first time in 10 years I came out to talk to someone." Her sober status is unknown at this time.



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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.