TV briefs: Sanjay Gupta's painkiller addiction town hall, Norman Reedus, TNT's 'Animal Kingdom'

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Atlanta-based CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is joining anchor Anderson Cooper tonight at 9 p.m. for a town hall on CNN to tackle the prescription drug addiction epidemic laid clear by the death of Prince.

The town hall will be at Time Warner Center in New York City featuring medical experts and people who have suffered opiate addiction.

"We take 75 to 80 percent of the world's pain pills with just five percent of the world population," Gupta said in an interview today. "We are paying for that with our lives."

He noted that more people die of prescription drug overdoses now than vehicular accidents. (Stats here.) To blame: doctors who believe outdated studies that supposedly showed opioids are not addictive and don't cause overdoses. He has anecdotally heard a CNN employee's son after dental surgery being handed 25 Vicodin pills. Another employee's wife received 75 Percocets after a surgery.

Gupta said these pills should never be the first choice option to deal with pain. Nerve blockers and physical and occupational therapy should come first. Even if someone is given opioids, they should not take them long term because over time, they lose efficacy and people need more and more.

He noted that we aren't 100 percent sure if Prince died via Percocet overdose, as some news reports claim, but it has brought the subject to the fore once again.

"I do feel there are these breakthrough moments," he said. "It won't change overnight by any means but people are talking about it. We had a town hall with Pres. Obama last month on this issue. We are doing tonight's prime-time show. The CDC has released new guidelines in Atlanta. There does appear to be more momentum than ever before."


"Anderson Cooper 360° Town Hall Prescription Addiction: Made in the USA"

9 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, CNN


Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

"The Walking Dead" star Norman Reedus is about to debut his reality show "Ride With Norman Reedus" June 12.

AMC released the art above today.

Here's what to expect:

“Ride with Norman Reedus” follows “The Walking Dead” fan-favorite star and motorcycle enthusiast as he hits the open road to explore local biker culture and celebrate the best and brightest collectors, mechanics and craftsmen around the country. Each one-hour installment of “Ride with Norman Reedus” will feature Reedus with a riding companion – notable guests include Peter Fonda, Robert Rodriguez and Balthazar Getty – as they journey to new destinations throughout the United States, including North Carolina, Florida, California, Nevada, Texas and Louisiana.  Reedus and friends stop by various locales such as custom bike shops, tattoo parlors, collector’s warehouses, or a roadside smokehouse.



Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

Atlanta-based TNT is introduced a two-hour debut of its dark upcoming drama "Animal Kingdom" on June 14. It had previously been set to debut June 7.

The first season has 10 episodes.

The plot of the first episode:

After his mother dies of a heroin overdose, 17-year-old Joshua 'J' Cody(Finn Cole) moves in with his estranged grandmother, Janine 'Smurf' Cody in Oceanside, California. He finds himself drawn into a dark world funded by criminal activities that he's been shielded from for years, as she and his uncles plan their upcoming heist. J must prove his loyalty to stay alive, all the while learning that Smurf is the intense, beguiling, and complicated matriarch, who rules over "her boys" with a borderline incestuous love.

The biggest name is Ellen Barkin, who plays Smurf.