2009-04-08 / Front Page

Former Marlboro man produces 'The Doctors'

BY REBECCA MORTON Staff Writer

People seeking health-related information can find some of the answers they are looking for by watching or asking questions of the professionals on the CBS-TV show "The Doctors." People who receive information delivered by the daytime television show can thank Andrew Scher, a former Marlboro resident who is one of the show's executive producers.

Andrew Scher Andrew Scher "The Doctors" is an hour-long syndicated talk show with a panel of professionals on hand to dispense reliable and interesting medical information and health advice. The show premiered nationwide in September 2008.

Scher was living in the Morganville section of Marlboro with his wife, Michele, and daughters, Arden and Emerson, until early in 2008 when he received an offer to work on "The Doctors."

He headed out to Los Angeles and was joined by his family when the girls finished the school year in June. The couple had moved to Marlboro five years prior to raise their family in Michele's hometown, where her parents, Jerry and Isobel Miller, still reside.

"There's something about Marlboro that people just don't want to leave. I don't know what it is. I don't know if it's Mom's Griddle Shop or it's the Freehold mall. There's just something about Marlboro," Scher said, describing how many of his Marlboro friends went back to their roots when it came time to raise their family.

As to "The Doctors," Scher was intrigued by the show's concept, having professionals explain different treatments, procedures and other tidbits on a level where people without a medical degree would understand.

The producer said he felt a special connection to the idea behind the show. Just months prior to his interview for the position with "The Doctors," Scher lost his father to lung cancer. He said that while he was asking questions of his father's physicians, the answers given were not always clear, because the doctors used medical terminology.

Scher said it has been his rule that with any topic on "The Doctors," the answers should be given in a manner so the average viewer will understand and can learn from the information provided.

"I don't want our show to feel like you're sitting in a big conference room trying to understand medicine," Scher said, adding that graphics and props are used to help make the information clear.

Viewers can call in or submit questions that the professionals will address on-air. Scher likened the segment to a house call.

"We are at a time in our economy where millions of people don't have healthcare. We are like a free doctor's visit. If you watch our show you are going to learn something every day," Scher said.

The producer got his start in the business on Joan Lunden's daytime show about a year after he graduated from Franklin Pierce University, New Hampshire, in 1988. From there Scher moved on to work on shows for John Walsh, Ricki Lake and Montel Williams, among others. He has also worked on some dating and reality television shows.

As one of three executive producers for "The Doctors," Scher described himself as the person in charge of almost everything. Scher said he has to give approval for the topics, the subject matter and any graphics that may be appearing on a segment. He explained that the executive producer is in charge of all the creative information that is provided during the hour-long show.

One of the most memorable and touching moments since starting with "The Doctors" was receiving a phone call from a viewer. Scher said the woman called and thanked him for educating her.

He said the woman told him, "What I learned on your show in one day I haven't been able to learn or understand about my medical condition for years."

Scher was touched to hear the impact "The Doctors" is making on its viewers. He said phone calls, letters and emails such as these reveal that "The Doctors" is reaching its goal of inspiring rather than scaring viewers.

"I don't want people to whisper about cancer. I want to inspire people that there's hope. You need to know everything, you should know exactly what you're up against because knowledge is power," Scher said.

"The Doctors" continues to do well in the ratings and has reached the rank of No. 5 among talk shows, Scher said. The show was recently the recipient of a humanitarian award from the Red Cross, which honored "The Doctors" in excellence in television, he noted.

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