On Sunday, March 6, A&E Network will be bringing the Emmy Award-winning docu-series Intervention back for its season 15 premiere. For those of you unfamiliar with the critically acclaimed series, Intervention follows the lives of one or two different participants per episode, each of whom suffers from substance dependency, an eating disorder or any other type of severe addiction or self-destructive behavior. However, in every episode, one major secret is kept from the addicted subject: the show’s producers, interventionists and the addict’s family and friends partaking in the show never tell their struggling loved one that they will soon face an intervention. The subject actually believes that the purpose for the multiple interviews and the cameras that follow him or her 24/7 is actually to collect footage for a documentary about addiction. While the subject often feels betrayed and tricked by their worried family members (although some are grateful for and welcome the opportunity to attend a rehabilitation center), the number of addicts who after the show, reach long-term sobriety, proves that the element of surprise offers the subject their best chance at achieving sobriety.
Since 2005, Intervention, created by Sam Mettler and Rob Sharenow, has had great success in helping better the lives of those struggling with addiction and their self-destructive ways. Out of a total 276 interventions, 270 subjects (98.7%) agreed to go to treatment by the end of the episode and only 6 have turned down the offer for treatment. What’s most impressive is the fact that Intervention has saved the lives of over half of the show’s participants with 151 (55%) remaining clean and sober after returning home from treatment with the help of the show’s professional interventionists/ addiction specialists Candy Finnigan and Jeff VanVonderen.
The beginning of each episode features the subject’s loved ones being interviewed and telling the stories of the subject’s childhood and the traumatic turning points that led them to their addiction.
“It’s just brutally honest in its portrayal of addiction,” show runner Jeff Weaver of GRB Entertainment said of the show’s appeal. “I think our viewers can really sense that and respond to it favorably. And as hard as it is to watch, it’s also very hard to turn away from.”
At any given time, the show will have between 300 to 900 requests to be on the show. Picking subjects is a team effort between GRB Entertainment and A&E staff and executives.
“It’s painful, because we know out of the thousands of submissions we get, only a handful will get selected,” Weaver said. “It’s very tough for us to be the ones that have to make that decision.”
For those who do get one of those spots, Weaver revealed what probably got them chosen.
“We strive to pick subjects that will be as brutally honest with us as we are direct about our questions,” he offered.
Intervention not only helps the subjects in each episode, but it also helps those watching the show at home. There’s very few things that are more inspiring than watching the follow up of a subject (which is featured at the end of each episode) who is clearly thankful, joyful and ecstatic to be sober. The show is not only a learning tool for everyone, but it can give anyone struggling with addition the kick-start they need to conquer their demons. At the end of the credits when the show is over, contact information on how to help oneself or a loved one who is struggling is also offered.
Season 15 of Intervention premieres on Sunday, March 6. The show airs every Sunday on A&E at 10PM ET/PT.
14 Seasons and 180 full episodes can be watched on the Intervention official site.