The participants are filmed by hidden cameras throughout the facility and camera crews 24 hours a day as they go through a 21-day program at a Pasadena residential treatment facility combining group and one-on-one therapy with less traditional therapies such as art and music. Much of the material is raw and coarse.
This session includes a return visit by Conaway, as well as Tawny Kitaen ("Bachelor Party"), Nikki McKibbin (a finalist from the first season of "American Idol") and former Guns N' Roses drummer Steven Adler, who was fired from the group known for excessive behavior for his drunkenness and dependence on drugs.
When King is first seen, he is obviously a man on the edge -- fidgety, sweaty, inarticulate. "I love alcohol, that's what I do," he says as he tilts his head back and pours a beer down his throat. At another point, he's shown at a part-time job working for a tow truck company, staggering and drunk. Later, he leans out of the passenger side window of a moving truck and throws up.
It was an Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor who referred him to the show. King, long concerned that his alcoholism would kill him, said the timing was right. "My father died of the disease, and I don't want to be like him," he said. "He always had a drink in his hand. He could've gotten the help he needed, but back then, they just laughed at stuff like rehab. I'm more than halfway through my life. Whenever I went in rehab before, it was being forced to do something."
His first hours at the Pasadena center were awkward. "I took my last drink on the drive over there," he recalled. In the early episodes of "Celebrity Rehab," he is often separated from the group, seeming to have little in common with the other celebrities. Indeed, some of his fellow participants aren't sure who he is -- one thinks he's an athlete, others believe he was in "Boyz N the Hood."
John Irwin, an executive producer of the series, said King's sponsor approached them about him joining the series. "The first time I met Rodney, he was high as a kite," he said. "He came to us because he had lost everything, and he was really ready to get clean and start over. He is a different person now. He has a heart of gold." King credits Pinsky with making him feel more comfortable: "Dr. Drew is on it. He was right 95% of the time."
He hopes he has finally gained the emotional tools to just get along with himself. He's working on a book about his life, and a movie deal is also in the works. "It's easy, but it's hard," he said with a smile. "And it's hard, but it's easy."