10 Things We Loved Learning About Dr. Sanjay Gupta

It's been a great week at iVillage getting to know the chief medical correspondent of CNN who is now executive producer of a new Hollywood medical drama.

We knew Sanjay Gupta was an award-winning journalist and a best-selling author, but there was a ton we didn't know about the man who can now add Hollywood executive producer to his impressive resume. Before his new medical drama, Monday Mornings, premieres on TNT on February 4th at 10 pm ET/9 pm CT, we wanted to put our own "top ten" list together -- the top ten things we loved learning about the 43-year-old father of three.

1. He Loves Being a Doctor Yes, he's a journalist, a television star on CNN and CBS (he contributes to CBS' 60 Minutes), author and now television executive producer but his greatest passion -- what inspires him most -- is doing what he started doing 20 years ago when he graduated medical school. "I like being a doctor. It's very concrete for me," Sanjay, who is still a practicing neurosurgeon, told us. "It's funny, in news and now even more so with scripted drama, there's a nebulousness about it. There's a squishiness about it. And that's just the way it is. Buth with medicine, I get up in the morning and I know what I am to do that day."

2. His Kids Choose Saturday's Breakfast Menu He often travels during the week, plus he still performs surgeries weekly and has his CNN and CBS duties. That leaves little time for his three girls, ages 7 and younger, so part of every weekend is devoted to family time. The girls pick what daddy cooks for breakfast, and yes, he'll even cook chocolate covered waffles! "That's the real secret. This is why my kids like me. The chocolate covered waffles," Sanjay joked.

3. He Doesn't Feel Guilty His many jobs mean he's away from his wife and girls a lot but he says he doesn't feel guilty about it because he believes he's being a strong role model for his kids just as his parents were for him. "Hopefully my kids look at me and say, 'God, my dad works really hard,' because that's what I said about my parents," said Sanjay. "So I don't want them to say, 'My dad's a total, you know, fill in the blank. And he was never around.' I don't want that. But I wouldn't mind if they said he worked really hard. He didn't take anything for granted. He just tried to spend every minute of his life doing something. So that's not a bad example to set for your kids."

How Does Sanjay Do It All? Watch His Secret Here:

 

4. He Was Only Allowed to Watch TV for One Hour a Week As a Kid So instead of television, he would read any books he could get his hands on. He doesn't have the same rule for his kids and admits it's tougher to enforce television limits with three in the house. He was an only child for the first ten years of his life!

5. His Mom Was First Female Engineer at Ford It's clear where he got his work ethic and drive: his parents. "They always felt lucky to be able to work. It was a different mentality," he said. "I think sometimes people feel lucky if they can get by without working... Our metric was never about generating money or anything like that. It was really about, 'Are we lucky enough to be asked to work?"

6. The Crisis that Stays With Him More than Any Other.. He's covered every major disaster since he started with CNN in 2001 shortly before the Sept 11th attacks. It's impossible to name one crisis that impacted him more than any other, he said, but did name Somalia as the one he dreams about sometimes. "This a place where hundreds of thousands of children starve to death, and you think about all the problems in the world that we talk about on the news and stuff, and (I) think to myself, that we can fix."

7. Thought He Was Being Punk'd... when he heard the award-winning television producer David E. Kelley wanted to turn his book into a television show. He says Kelley, who along with Sanjay is executive producer of Monday Mornings, was better than you expect. "People have pretty high expectations of him but he's even better than that," he said.

8. Named One of His Most Villainous Characters... after a very good friend of his. In his book and in the show, David Martin is a reckless doctor. In real life, Martin is a former medical producer at CNN!

9. Hopes His New Show... shows people what doctors really go through after a medical mistake. "There's an interesting stop to the conversation in medicine when a doctor makes a mistake, a patient thinks that's a bad doctor. And they may even think that's a bad human being, and they may be right in some situations but I think what they don't see is how hard the doctors and their group of people can be on themselves," he said.

10. He Loves to Write He's already written three best-selling books, including one novel, Monday Mornings, which he said took him ten years to finish, but he loves the craft so much, he'd love to write more. And yes, that means possibly more novels, and more Sanjay in Hollywood.

Kelly Wallace, who knows Sanjay from her work at CNN and CBS News, is Chief Correspondent of iVillage. You can follow Kelly on Twitter (@kellywallacetv).

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