Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
NBC’s The Biggest Loser takes on childhood obesity when the show returns this month. And at today’s TCA panel, the show’s trainers told TV journalists that no child would be subjected to an on-camera weigh-in. Nor will the younger set have to compete to stay on the show. “You are never going to see our kids on our scale, “ said trainer Bob Harper. In working with children, he said, “What we do will be the exact opposite of what we do with our adults.” Panelist Joanna Dolgoff, a pediatrician and child obesity expert, confirmed after the panel that the kids will still be weighed off-camera as part of a “healthy eating” program. Adult contestants will still have public weigh-ins and have to compete to stay in the running, said Dolgoff.
Trainers Harper, Jillian Michaels and Dolvett Quince, appearing on the panel with Dolgoff, host Alison Sweeney and executive producers Eden Gaha and Dave Broome, took a hard line on adult participation. When asked if routine fainting and vomiting suggests the trainers might be pushing their weight-loss hopefuls too far, Michaels replied with a blunt “no.”
Michaels is returning to the show after quitting in December 2010. In between then and now she has had various gigs, including being a co-host on The Doctors, a correspondent on Dr. Phil and co-hosted the Super Bowl Greatest Commercials special. Why?
“Several things brought me back,” Michaels said. “You leave the show and you want to do new things and everyone supports you [but then asks] when are you going to come back to the show?” Michaels likened herself to being Madonna in concert, ready to try new material but being asked to sing “Holiday” one more time. “The biggest loser is my version of ‘Holiday,’ ” she said. She added that she is excited about new members of the creative team and her enthusiasm for the issue of childhood obesity.
Addressing the producers onstage, Michaels added, “I will stay on as long as you’ll have me.”