TORONTO - Pledging to stay sober and get in shape, Toronto's embattled mayor vowed to turn his life around Tuesday and bounce back from the latest blow to his leadership.
But his bold promises of a new, improved Rob Ford met with skepticism at city hall, a day after councillors stripped the mayor of most of his powers.
In a series of interviews with Canadian and American television networks, Ford promised people will see a positive change in him in the near future.
His assurances didn't seem to sway the man who inherited the bulk of the mayor's duties, however.
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said he's been listening to health experts in light of the deepening drug scandal surrounding the mayor.
"One of them that I heard this morning on TV said it's easy to go cold turkey, it's hard to stay that way," he said.
Packing boxes filled the mayor's office Tuesday as several staff members were transferred to temporary new positions.
Ford's comeback effort was hampered by more bad news as the Sun News Network called off his new television show after only one episode and newly released police documents suggested Ford may have used drugs more recently than he admitted.
Ford told local TV station CP24 in an interview he has had a "come to Jesus moment" and hasn't touched "a drop of alcohol" in three weeks, nor has he done drugs recently.
"I don't do drugs, maybe a year ago, whatever happened happened," he added.
Ford admitted earlier this month to having smoked crack cocaine roughly a year ago in what he called one of his "drunken stupors."
But a newly released police document alleges a video appearing to show the mayor smoking crack cocaine was shot earlier this year.
"The video was filmed surreptitiously in the month of February 2013 of the mayor without his knowledge," reads the document, which is part of a drug case against Ford's friend and occasional driver Alexander (Sandro) Lisi.
Asked about the new allegation during the CP24 interview, Ford simply repeated his calls for the video to be publicly released.
The mayor has remained defiant despite a series of unprecedented votes in city council which reduced his powers to ribbon cutting.
Ford's criminal lawyer, Dennis Morris, said the mayor is spending up to two hours a day exercising, has revamped his diet and is receiving "professional support" including care from a medical doctor.
"It isn't just going to the gym and having a few shakes, he's addressing a substance abuse problem, and I don't think you have to ask too many questions to realize it's probably alcohol," Morris told The Canadian Press.
Though the mayor has denied being addicted to drugs or alcohol, the allegations laid out in police documents are "part and parcel of indicia of having a substance abuse challenge," Morris said.
In an interview broadcast this morning on NBC's "Today," Ford was combative under questioning by host Matt Lauer, who asked him about his admitted binge drinking.
Lauer asked Ford if he'd be able to handle a terror attack or disaster in the city if he'd been out on a binge the night before — but Ford said that could happen to anyone.
"I'm very fortunate that hasn't happened. It's very few isolated incidents that it's happened," he replied.
Ford's reputation nonetheless appears to have taken a hit, and the list of organizations distancing themselves from the beleaguered mayor grew longer Tuesday.
The cancellation of his TV show, "Ford Nation," just a day after it premiered, came after one of the sponsors — Canadian Tire — publicly withdrew its support.
"For clarity to our customers — we won't be advertising on Ford Nation and are asking our manufacturers to not use our logos on the show," it said in a tweet.
The move followed a flurry of criticisms on Twitter, where some had vowed to boycott the chain over its ties to the program and its controversial hosts.
The TV network insisted, however, that the hour-long program was a success and noted both the mayor and his councillor brother would be welcome to appear on other shows.
The show drew a record 155,000 viewers, but "it also took us over five hours to shoot it and a huge amount of time to edit and put it together to get an hour of usable television," which wasn't viable in the long run, said the network's vice-president, Kory Teneycke.
Ford was asked last week not to attend the city's annual Santa Claus parade as well as Sunday's Toronto Argonauts game. The football team also took issue with the mayor wearing its jersey while making sexually explicit comments on live television.
Ford has steadfastly refused to take a leave or resign since reports of a video that appeared to show him smoking crack cocaine surfaced in May.
Police said they had recovered the video but have refused to release it.