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Loveline is a syndicated radio call-in program in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, offering medical and relationship advice to listeners, often with the assistance of guests, typically actors and musicians.
Loveline began in 1983 as a Sunday night dating and relationships segment on Los Angeles radio station KROQ, hosted by DJ Jim "Poorman" Trenton and DJ Swedish Egil (Egil Aalvik). About a year later, Trenton added a segment called "Ask a Surgeon", hosted by his friend Dr. Drew Pinsky, who was not yet a doctor but a fourth-year medical student at the University of Southern California.
The two segments soon merged into their own show, co-hosted by Trenton and Pinsky. In February 1992, the show went from airing solely on Sunday nights, to five nights a week (Sunday through Thursday).
Trenton's relationship with the station became strained, and in August 1993 he was replaced by former MTV VJ Riki Rachtman. Dr. Drew and Rachtman were joined by Adam Carolla in October 1995, as the show was first being syndicated nationally. The trio hosted together for several months, but Carolla and Rachtman often competed for airtime, leading Rachtman to resign in April 1996. From that point, Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew hosted the show until Carolla's departure on November 3, 2005.
The popularity and reach of the show increased dramatically during the "Pinsky/Carolla" years. The two had a natural chemistry, in which Carolla's jocular tone emphasized Pinsky's reasoned expertise. Together, they refined the format of the show, and capitalized on their growing popularity with speaking tours, a television show, a book, and cameo appearances on television shows and in movies. Carolla left the show to prepare for hosting a new morning radio show in 2005.
Loveline follows the call-in question-and-answer model with the primary goal of helping youth and young adults with relationship, sexuality, and drug addiction problems. As a practicing internist and addiction medicine specialist, Dr. Drew's answers have medical credibility, and the addition of Adam Carolla's humor and insight increased the program's entertainment value as well. Carolla repeatedly stated his role was acting as "a sheep in wolf's clothing:" he lured listeners with dirty jokes and wisecracks in hopes they'd learn to improve their lives and remedy serious problems.
After Carolla's departure, he was substituted on a temporary basis by numerous celebrity guests, some of whom announced their desire to take the job permanently. During his first appearance on Carolla's new morning show, Pinsky revealed that the shortlist of candidates included Carson Daly, Joel McHale, Danny Bonaduce, Steve-O, and Daniel Tosh. On July 23, 2006, KROQ disc jockey Stryker was hired as Pinsky's co-host.
On April 22, 2009, Stryker announced that due to financial cutbacks at Westwood One, he would be leaving the show. Dr. Drew will continue to host the show with a rotating cast of co-hosts and guests.
Adam Carolla was offered the job of co-hosting Loveline with physician Dr. Drew Pinsky in October 1995, replacing Riki Rachtman. Pinsky selected Carolla personally, after hearing Carolla's earlier radio work. Loveline is a syndicated radio program produced by Westwood One, and was also a television show on MTV for four years. On Loveline, Carolla often gave extended commentary about matters having little to do with the official subject matter of the show. Common topics included: Carolla's dislike of the negative effects of religious zealotry; criticism of celebrities; complaints about politically-originated policies that make little sense; junior colleges; traffic/parking enforcement as pure revenue-generation; superfluous red left-turn arrows and other "wastes" such as the abundance of police officers available to serve traffic citations while none seem to be available for important issues like counter-terrorism; and incessant radio weather and traffic reports ("How many traffic reports have you listened to? Thousands. How many times have you actually changed your route based on a traffic report? That's right! Never!"). His impassioned criticisms and observational humor became a central characteristic of the show.
During his time on Loveline, Carolla gradually drew an increasing fan base to the program. Carolla, on Loveline after earlier attempts at traditional stand-up comedy, eschewed traditional stand-up methods, such as scripted comedic "bits". Carolla has claimed that he has no "act", referring to himself as a "comedy factory, as opposed to a comedy warehouse", distinguishing himself from comics who prepare material. Carolla preferred to use his time on the airwaves—and the subject matter of Loveline as an inspirational springboard—to launch into comedic rants. Carolla's presentation of his views frequently fits the description of black comedy. While Carolla distinguishes himself as being self-educated, he frequently refers to his formal education in abysmal, self-deprecating terms. Carolla claims to have genuinely forgotten several of his own past jokes, insights and innovations that have caught on with fans, attributing his forgetfulness to his "no self-esteem".
He did not return to the show as he has often said Dr. Drew was offered 3 times the money he was. During his final shows on Loveline, the fanbase that he had cultivated was, in his own words, larger than he expected. Carolla often claimed that he had no idea of the effect he had on his audience, saying frequently that, among the small staff in the Loveline broadcast studio, "no one cares"; he repeatedly drew attention to the apathy of his co-workers—with extended, comedic complaints about the staff, including Pinsky (they both stated they had become very close during their work together). He repeated sentiments of fan appreciation on-air during his last few Loveline broadcasts, consciously breaking from his black-humor comedic tone to thank his fans in earnest, explaining that the opportunity for his own morning radio show similar to Howard Stern's was an opportunity he could not pass up.
On May 13, 2009, Adam returned to Loveline as a guest. During a typical discourse with a caller that was giving short, unaccommodating responses, Carolla snapped jokingly "Oh, Jesus Christ, I don't miss this God-damn show one second!" Adam said being on Loveline was like "visiting your grandfather at the morgue".