The Biggest Loser (U.S. TV series)
|The Biggest Loser|
|Created by||Dave Broome|
|Presented by||Caroline Rhea (2004–2006) |
Alison Sweeney (2007–present)
|Starring||Bob Harper (2004-present) |
Jillian Michaels (2004–2005, 2007–2011)
Kim Lyons (2006–2007)
Cara Castronuova (2011)
Brett Hoebel (2011)
Anna Kournikova (2011)
Dolvett Quince (2011–present)
|Narrated by||J. D. Roth|
|Theme music composer||Heather Small and Peter-John Vettese|
|Opening theme||"Looking Good, Feeling Gorgeous" (Season 1) by RuPaul |
"Proud" (Seasons 2-9) by Heather Small
|Composer(s)||Jeff Lippencott and Mark T. Williams, Ah2 Music|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||12|
|No. of episodes||193 (as of November 29, 2011)|
|Running time||84 Minutes (120 Minutes incl. commercials)|
|Production company(s)||3Ball Productions |
Twenty Five Seven Productions
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV) (2004-2010) |
1080i (HDTV) (2010-present)
|Original run||October 19, 2004 – present|
The Biggest Loser is an American reality game show that debuted on NBC October 19, 2004. The show features obese people competing to win a cash prize by losing the highest percentage of weight relative to their initial weight.
Each season of The Biggest Loser starts with a weigh-in to determine the contestants' starting weights, which serve as the baseline for determining the overall winner.
The contestants are grouped into teams of two, each wearing separate colored t-shirts. Depending on the season a team may work with a specific trainer or all trainers may work with all contestants. The trainers are responsible (in conjunction with medical personnel retained by the show) for designing comprehensive workout and nutrition plans and teaching them to the contestants. However, the contestants are individually responsible for implementing the principles taught.
During an episode, various challenges and temptations (see below) are featured. Those who win a particular challenge are given special privileges, such as a weight advantage for the next weigh-in or even full immunity from being voted off the show.
Each week culminates in another weigh-in to determine which team has lost the most weight for that week, in percentage of total weight lost. The team that has lost the least percentage during that week (known as "falling below the yellow line", which refers to a line featured on a video screen showing the cutoff between safety and being at-risk) will have one member voted off (unless the team consists of only one remaining member, in which case there is no vote). The vote is usually made by the other teams, though some episodes feature one team making the decision alone. Some episodes feature a second, "red line" if a contestant falls below the red line the contestant is automatically off the show with no vote. Other episodes allow for the contestants, if successfully meeting a goal at the weigh-in, to all receive immunity for the week.
When the number of contestants has shrunk to a predetermined smaller number (unknown to the contestants), the teams are dissolved and the contestants compete one-on-one against each other.
The season finale features both the contestants remaining on the show and those sent home early; the latter are brought back for the final show. Those sent home early compete for a smaller prize while those on the show compete for a larger prize and the title of "The Biggest Loser".
Each episode will feature some, but not all, of the following activities (some contestants may not participate in an activity with physical requirements if placed on medical restrictions):
Contestants prepare for the first day of the week only to find a situation that involves temptation. The temptation usually requires contestants to gamble by eating or drinking delicious but high-calorie foods in exchange for what may seem to be a beneficial trade-off. The benefits may or may not be known to the contestants in advance. Examples include eating sweet foods for a chance to call their loved ones, eating a big slice of cake to win an unknown prize (which, in one episode, turned out to be an exercise bike) or giving up time with trainer for a chance to win thousands of dollars. Contestants are given a set amount of time before the offer passes.
- Reward Challenge:
Contestants compete to win a prize, first as teams and then as individuals after the teams are dissolved. After the challenge, viewers are shown the winning team savoring their reward while the losing team accepts their loss. Prizes range from immunity- which is exemption from elimination - to exercise equipment, phone calls home or weight prizes, which allow winners of a challenge to have a greater weight loss at the Weigh-In, or losers of a challenge to have a lower weight loss at the Weigh-In (e.g. a 6 lb weight loss would result in a 7 lb weight loss if a contestant were to win a "1 pound advantage" whereas it would result in a 5 lb weight loss if a contestant were to win a "1 pound disadvantage"). If the teams are uneven at the start of the Weigh-in, then the team that has more players may be asked to choose a certain number of players from that team to sit out. This would result in their results not being counted towards their team's total weight loss.
- Initial Workout:
Contestants work out with the trainers. During this segment, the trainers will often speak with certain contestants, especially those doing poorly. Usually certain underlying emotional issues are revealed at this time (such as a loss of a family member or a physical calamity), which often are the triggering events that led to the weight gain in the first place.
- Last Chance Workout:
Last chance workouts are often shown as grueling, final preparations for the weigh in. This is a real test of strength and trainers push contestants to their limits.
Although, the show depicts the weigh-in an evening setting, the actual weight measurement occurs off-camera in a morning session and the contestants are not told of the results during this time. All contestants are weighed to determine the amount they have lost relative to their total body weight. During team-based competition, the team that loses the highest percentage wins and the losing team must send one person home. When the teams are dissolved and the show becomes an individual competition, the two contestants who lose the lowest percentage of weight are below the yellow line and are eligible for elimination. A similar setup to individual-based weigh-ins happens when the two initial teams are broken up into four teams of two or three, as happened in the second and fourth seasons. In season ten, the rules changed. The contestants are now expected to weigh in before challenges. The yellow line now increases up to half of the slots depending on how many contestants there are at the ranch. The contestants that are below the yellow line face an elimination challenge before the vote. In addition, the Biggest Loser of the week is allowed to save a person below the yellow line from elimination. Some episodes have featured both a yellow line and a red line; a contestant who falls below the red line are eliminated outright from the competition without a vote of the other contestants.
- Elimination Challenge:
Introduced in season nine, the elimination challenge was for the two people who were below the yellow line. In the only elimination challenge of that season, the longest one standing stayed while the other one went home. In season ten, the elimination challenge was re-introduced. The amount of people who were below the yellow line participate in a challenge to escape from the vote. The two contestants that are the least successful in the competition faces the vote.
- The Vote:
The final segment of the show takes place in a dining room that has refrigerators labeled with each contestant's name (active contestants have their name illuminated) and filled with that contestant's favorite tempting foods. Prior to the vote, the contestants facing elimination plead their case as to why they should remain on the Ranch (several episodes feature contestants making a "sacrificial" request to be sent home, generally a team agreeing as to which member should stay and which one should go, or one contestant feeling that they can make progress at home while another needs the Ranch setting to continue his/her progress). The other contestants are not required to honor any requests to be sent home, though generally such requests are honored. The contestants facing elimination arrive at the dining room first; the other contestants each carry a covered plate containing the name of the person they wish to vote out. In the event of a tie, the contestant or team who lost the least percentage of weight is eliminated, except if both of the contestants or teams lost the least percentage of weight. As people are voted out, the light for their name is extinguished. After the vote, the eliminated contestant is shown at home and mentions the progress they have made in their weight loss.
Weight Loss Regimen: Risks and Criticism
According to LiveScience.com, "physicians and nutritionists worry the show's focus on competitive weight loss is, at best, counterproductive and, at worst, dangerous. " Contestants on the show lose upwards of 10 pounds per week (in the very first week, some contestants have lost 20-30+ pounds in that one week alone), whereas the established medical guidelines for safe weight loss are between 1 and 2 pounds per week.
At the end of every telecast, the following disclaimer is shown:
|“||"Our contestants were supervised by doctors while participating in the show, and their diet and exercise regimen was tailored to their medical status and their specific needs. Consult with your own doctor before embarking on any diet or exercise program."||”|
Despite this claim of supervision, however, all contestants are required to sign a waiver that states: "no warranty, representation or guarantee has been made as to the qualifications or credentials of the medical professionals who examine me or perform any procedures on me in connection with my participation in the series, or their ability to diagnose medical conditions that may affect my fitness to participate in the series."
The weight-loss regimen used in the show—severe caloric restriction combined with up to six hours a day of strenuous exercise—involves risks including a weakening of the heart muscle, irregular heartbeat and dangerous reductions in potassium and electrolytes. Contestants, regardless of their weight, are required to certify that they believe they are "in excellent physical, emotional, psychological and mental health."
The Biggest Loser: Second Chances included a one-mile foot race in its first week, an event that led to the hospitalization of two of its contestants; Rob Huizenga, the show's medical consultant, when asked about the foot race said that "If we had it to do over, we wouldn’t [have done] it" and noted that in response, the show's producers have "changed a lot of the way [they] do things" (including the close monitoring of contestants’ body temperatures during exercise).
Because the show is a contest that involves eliminations from it, some contestants are encouraged to take risks that endanger their health. Ryan C. Benson, the winner of the program’s first season, publicly admitted that "he dropped some of the weight by fasting and dehydrating himself to the point that he was urinating blood." Also since the show Benson has regained all of his weight, but 10-12 lbs. In 2009, Kai Hibbard (runner-up from the third season) told the New York Times that "she and other contestants would drink as little water as possible in the 24 hours before a weigh-in" and would "work out in as much clothing as possible" when the cameras were off. She further stated that two weeks after the show ended, she had regained about 31 pounds, mostly from staying hydrated. In a June 2010 interview, Hibbard said, "I do still struggle [with an eating disorder]. I do. My husband says I’m still afraid of food... I’m still pretty messed up from the show."
In a July 2011 press conference with the Television Critics Association, comedian and actor Jerry Lewis was critical of the competitive nature of The Biggest Loser, claiming that the show is about contestants "knocking their brains out trying to see how we beat the fat lady at 375 pounds, and in four months she's going to be 240. Who cares? It's ridiculous."
Seasons two and three of the Biggest Loser have been filmed at the Hummingbird Nest Ranch. The 123-acre (0.50 km) ranch is an equestrian estate in Simi Valley, California, northwest of Los Angeles. Recent seasons have been filmed near Malibu Creek State Park.
U.S. Television Ratings
Losing It With Jillian
The following table contains records for the American version of The Biggest Loser. Only records which were officially announced on the show are included.
- "The Biggest Loser - Season 11 | Casting for "The Biggest Loser"". Thebiggestlosercasting.com. http://www.thebiggestlosercasting.com/. Retrieved 2010-06-16.
- ^ Edward Wyatt (November 25, 2009). "On ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Health Can Take Back Seat". The New York Times. via The Gainesville Sun. http://www.gainesville.com/article/20091125/ZNYT01/911253011/1109/SPORTS?Title=On-x2018-The-Biggest-Loser-x2019-Health-Can-Take-Back-Seat. Retrieved 2009-11-26.
- ^ "'The Biggest Loser' Has Big Problems, Health Experts Say". LiveScience. 2010-02-21. http://www.livescience.com/9820-biggest-loser-big-problems-health-experts.html. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
- "Tips for losing weight: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". Nlm.nih.gov. 2011-03-28. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001940.htm. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
- "Biggest Loser: Contestants Admit Dangerous Practices, Can't Speak Out". Huffingtonpost.com. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/25/biggest-loser-contestants_n_370538.html. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
- "Bigger Loser Finalist Says Show Gave Her An Eating Disorder, by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C., June 16, 2010" http://jezebel.com/5564997/bigger-loser-finalist-says-show-gave-her-an-eating-disorder
- St. Petersburg Times: "Jerry Lewis out as telethon host", page 1A, August 5, 2011.
- Woollard, Deidre (2007-08-12). "Hummingbird Nest Ranch, Estate of the Day". Luxist.com. http://www.luxist.com/2007/08/12/hummingbird-nest-ranch-estate-of-the-day/. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "Biggest Loser Ranch In Malibu Creek State Park – 2008 Season | Virtual Bird's Eye". Virtualbirdseye.com. http://www.virtualbirdseye.com/2008/09/21/biggest-loser-ranch-in-malibu-creek-state-park-2008-season/. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "'Biggest Loser' couple Matt Hoover, Suzy Preston welcome new baby - Reality TV World - News, information, episode summaries, message boards, chat and games for unscripted television programs". Reality TV World. 2008-09-15. http://www.realitytvworld.com/news/biggest-loser-couple-matt-hoover-suzy-preston-welcome-new-baby-7755.php. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "casting audition press your luck at". Tvrules.net. http://www.tvrules.net/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=9989. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- "Alison Sweeney Joins 'Biggest Loser'". http://www.etonline.com/tv/news/2007/02/44135/.
- "Did you choose the 'The Biggest Loser'? - Today Show - MSNBC.com". http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/18233299/.
- "Fattest Cities Possible for Season 8 in the Fall of '09". http://www.thrfeed.com/2009/02/biggest-loser-americas-fattest-cities-next-fall.html.
- "A record 239 pounds it all". http://www.thatsfit.com/2009/12/09/the-biggest-loser-a-record-239-pounds-wins-it-all/.
- "The Biggest Edition Of 'The Biggest Loser". http://tvwatch.people.com/2009/12/15/the-biggest-edition-of-the-biggest-loser-ever/?xid=rss-topheadlines.
- "NBC reveals identities of 'The Biggest Loser's tenth-season cast, twist". Reality TV World. 2010-08-24. http://www.realitytvworld.com/news/nbc-reveals-identities-of-the-biggest-loser-tenth-season-cast-twist-11485.php. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
- ^ "The Breakdown: Meet the Cast of 'The Biggest Loser''s New Season". Etonline.com. 2010-12-13. http://www.etonline.com/tv/104058_The_Breakdown_Meet_the_Cast_of_The_Biggest_Loser_s_New_Season/index.html. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
- NBC Announces New Mid-Season Schedule (2010-11-15). "NBC Announces New Mid-Season Schedule". NBC.com. http://www.nbc.com/news/2010/11/15/nbc-announces-new-mid-season-schedule/. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
- ^ "Primetime series". The Hollywood Reporter. Nielsen Business Media. May 27, 2005. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000937471. Retrieved 02-12-2010.
- ^ "Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Nielsen Business Media. May 26, 2006. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002576393. Retrieved 02-12-2010.
- ^ "2006–07 primetime wrap". The Hollywood Reporter. Nielsen Business Media. May 25, 2007. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/television/features/e3ifbfdd1bcb53266ad8d9a71cad261604f?pn=2. Retrieved 02-12-2010.
- ^ "Season Program Rankings from 09/24/07 through 05/25/08". ABC Medianet. May 28, 2008. http://abcmedianet.com/web/dnr/dispDNR.aspx?id=052808_06. Retrieved 02-12-2010.
- ^ "Season Program Rankings from 09/22/08 through 05/17/09". ABC Medianet. May 19, 2009. http://abcmedianet.com/web/dnr/dispDNR.aspx?id=051909_05. Retrieved 02-12-2010.
- ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 27, 2010). "Full Series Rankings For The 2009-10 Broadcast Season". Deadline.com. http://www.deadline.com/2010/05/full-series-rankings-for-the-2009-10-broadcast-season/. Retrieved 05-18-2010.
- ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 27, 2011). "Full 2010-2011 TV Season Series Rankings". Deadline.com. http://www.deadline.com/2011/05/full-2010-11-season-series-rankers/. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
- "Tuesday Broadcast Final Ratings: NBA Finals Average Almost 18 Million - TV Ratings, Nielsen Ratings, Television Show Ratings". TVbytheNumbers.com. http://tvbythenumbers.com/2010/06/16/tuesday-broadcast-final-ratings-nba-finals-average-almost-18-million/54394. Retrieved 2010-06-16.
- Official website
- The Biggest Loser at the Internet Movie Database
- The Biggest Loser at TV.com
- "List of Biggest Loser Episodes". TVGuide. http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/biggest-loser/191408.
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- The Apprentice (since 2004)
- The Biggest Loser (since 2004)
- Chuck (since 2007)
- Community (since 2009)
- Dateline NBC (since 1992)
- Fashion Star (since 2011)
- Fear Factor (since 2001–2006; resuming 2011)
- Grimm (since 2011)
- Harry's Law (since 2011)
- It's Worth What? (since 2011)
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (since 1999)
- Love in the Wild (since 2011)
- The Marriage Ref (since 2010)
- Minute to Win It (since 2010)
- The Office (since 2005)
- Parenthood (since 2010)
- Parks and Recreation (since 2009)
- Prime Suspect (since 2011)
- The Sing-Off (since 2009)
- Up All Night (since 2011)
- The Voice (since 2011)
- Whitney (since 2011)
- Who Do You Think You Are? (since 2010)
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