Biggest Loser casting tips (season 14)

09 May
May 9, 2012

Biggest Loser is getting ready to start casting for season 14!  Casting calls will be happening this summer and will be posted soon on the Biggest Loser casting website.  Basically, this post is a collection of tips I’ve written based on my experience making the cast of season three, as well as some links to casting advice I don’t think you should miss:

  • NBC has posted casting information and the application here.  They have all the casting news and information on a special blog just for Biggest Loser casting, which you can find here.
  • Pete Thomas, the season 2 $100,000 winner has some of the best casting call advice out there, which you can find at his website, Winning Man.
  • Holland, a casting director for Biggest Loser sent me a bunch of great advice on how to be casted, you can find it here.  She updated them October, 2009.
  • I’ve been posting these casting tips for the last few seasons and they always seem to end up with thousands of comments; just about every season has contestants that were hanging out on here, reading and giving each other thoughts and advice.  You can find the most recent one here.
  • If you’re dealing with disappointment about not being cast, then check out my post on Biggest Loser casting disappointment.

One of the questions I hear a lot is about money … how do contestants afford to be away from home and work for months at a time? I don’t know what it is now, but when I was a contestant there was a $500 a week stipend for cast members on the ranch. When you received the check you could cash it and spend it, send it home, save it, whatever. All airplane tickets, hotel accommodations, etc., for the contestants and potential cast members are taken care of by NBC, and during the casting process it self there was a $50 per diem to cover food costs.

Another question is timing; typically a season lasts for about 8-9 months. About four of this is spent in filming; if you last all the way until the final three or four, you could be away from home for as much as four months or so. Once the ranch filming wraps and the last few contestants are sent home, however, there is still another four or five months that all the contestants have to continue losing weight until the finale. In addition, potential cast members are flown out to California a couple weeks before filming begins for the final round of casting, medical checkups, psychological evals, etc. NBC brings out more people than what they need and the cast is not finalized until filming literally begins. People have been cut at the last minute and replacements flown in with hardly any time to spare. Nothing is in stone until it’s on camera!

When will you hear from Biggest Loser about your video? There is no way of knowing. I heard back a few weeks after I sent it in, but even after that it’s a big waiting game. If you get a phone number or email from a casting direction, definitely drop them a line/call every couple weeks to find out if you’re still in the running or what’s going on. Schedules and plans change almost every day, so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. If you don’t hear back within a month I would think your video didn’t make the cut. That doesn’t mean you can’t send in another or visit a casting call – it’s just up to you!

Finally, here’s my video application tips! This is by no means a recipe for success; it’s based on my video application and the conversations I had with casting directors out in LA in between things. I was pretty curious about the whole process so I was pumping them for info even after filming began. I’m such a nerd!

  • They’ve usually decided if they’re interested in you within the first 30-60 seconds of your video, so front load it with your best stuff. Make it interesting! Start off with something funny or exciting!
  • Keep in mind, if you’re going to be cast, your video is going to be watched hundreds of times by producers, executives, casting directors, etc. If it bores you or your friends the second or third time watching it … put some more time into it!
  • Special effects? Don’t bother! We’ve all got video editing software with all sorts of bells and whistles on our home computers, but fancy transitions are not going to sell you to people who do video editing for a living. In fact, it can distract from who you are. I’m a video editing nerd and I didn’t use any special effects other than putting my name and contact info on as a subtitle at the beginning.
  • Don’t bother talking about why you need to lose weight. When I first started filming my audition video I started describing all of my health reasons for losing weight – but when I was watching it back, I realized … they don’t need to hear it! One look at me was all they needed to know I needed to lose weight! Show them why you need to lose it; I said I needed to lose weight for my kids, and then I followed it with a minute or two of the best footage I could find of me with wrestling with my three boys. We probably filmed half an hour of that insanity and I grabbed the cutest, loudest, and funniest few moments for the audition video. Your physical need to lose weight is not nearly as interesting as who or what your losing the weight for.
  • Live loud! Reality TV is over the top, dramatic, and filled with loud personalities. They need to see that on your video! I wanted them to know that even though I was morbidly obese I was up to the challenge of the crazy competitions and workouts – so I threw on a bunch of clips from my different youth group activities; me getting slimed, snowtubing, playing paintball, screaming at events, being on stage, running around … you get the idea. Other contestants did things appropriate to their lives; Tim from Oregon had himself spinning out on his Harley, Tim from Delaware recruited his elementary school class to do things with him, Heather Hanson filmed herself running around in a sports bra all day doing her household chores and errands. The less talking and more action you can have, the better (in my opinion)!
  • If you have footage or photos of yourself thin, include those at some point on the video. If you can show them what your after will be, then do it!

Remember, enjoy the conversation here and know that I will never compromise your anonymity – not to NBC, 3Ball, Casting Directors or anyone. You can post anonymously, or you can leave your names and contact information … just remember that NBC likes to be the one announcing their cast for the show, so if you start identifying yourself publicly as a finalist, you’ll probably find yourself eliminated from the casting process. Be aware that casting directors do check in at my blog to see what people are saying, get a feel for what questions are going on out there, and sometimes to give us updates. Good luck to everyone … and let me know if you make the show! I get a kick out of hearing about the different contestants that have hung out on my blog before making the show! ;)

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  1. Should Have Been A PI says:


    “The Biggest Loser Season 14 Cast Revealed

    December 03, 2012 05:00 PM by Lisa Princ

    Are you anticipating the new season of The Biggest Loser? Yeah, we are too, and we recently learned that Jillian Michaels will be returning! Now we’ve got a rundown of the lucky folks that will be competing in season 14!

    If you are anxiously awaiting the new season of The Biggest Loser on NBC, we’ve got the lowdown on the new contestants and some details about the new season for you. Check out the press release from NBC:

    In a season unlike any other, NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” takes on child obesity by featuring kid participants for the first time ever on the show, joining 15 fiercely determined adults eager to lose weight and change their lives forever in a must-see, two-night premiere event on Sunday, January 6 (9-11 p.m. ET) and Monday, January 7 (8-10 p.m. ET). And joining “The Biggest Loser” team to help the kids get healthy in season 14 will be childhood obesity expert and pediatrician Dr. Joanna Dolgoff.

    New mother Jillian Michaels is also back, ready to whip contestants into shape with her tough-as-nails, no nonsense approach, alongside returning trainers and top fitness experts Bob Harper and Dolvett Quince. Alison Sweeney hosts the series.

    With the childhood obesity epidemic at an alarming, all-time high, jeopardizing the health of kids and future generations, “The Biggest Loser” is committed to tackling this critical issue by featuring children this season to serve as ambassadors of change who can inspire kids all over the country to get healthy. The focus for the kids will be on getting healthy rather than numbers on a scale, so they will not be eligible for elimination and will not weigh in on camera. They will work at both the ranch and at home, and their progress will be featured in every episode.

    The show’s three kid participants will be 13-year-old Noah “Bingo” Gray, who aspires to be a professional baseball player and describes himself as a “skinny kid trying to get out of a fat teenager’s body”; 16-year-old Sanjana “Sunny” Chandrasekar, who juggles Advanced Placement classes and extracurricular activities like singing and tennis, and says that being overweight takes away from her self-confidence and affects every aspect of her life; and 13-year-old Lindsay Bravo, who loved being a cheerleader for two years but gave it up when others started teasing her about her weight, and hopes that by going on the show, she can inspire others to change their lives and get healthy.

    The adult contestants for season 14 of “The Biggest Loser” will include Lisa Rambo, a high school special education assistant and mother of four who wants to be a healthy role model for her children, and hopes to one day open a special needs gym in her community to help her overweight students; 21-year-old Jackson Carter, the show’s first openly gay contestant who was bullied both for his weight and his sexuality after coming out at age 14, and now works as a volunteer coordinator for an LGBT youth outreach center, and Joe Ostaszewski, a former high school and college football player who continued to eat like an active football player long after his athletic career was over.

    Also competing this season will be 47-year-old attorney, law firm owner and mother of two Gina McDonald, who is very accomplished in her professional life, but has not been able to get control of her lifelong struggle with weight; 51-year-old police officer David Jones, who at 307 pounds is struggling to keep up with the physical demands of his job, and college professor and communications consultant Michael Dorsey, the heaviest contestant this season at 444 pounds, who wants to be a healthy role model for his young son.

    Working closely with the children this season will be Dr. Joanna Dolgoff, a childhood obesity expert and pediatrician whose book “Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right” features the child-friendly healthy eating plan the kids will follow. Along with the trainers and the “Biggest Loser” medical staff, the kids will follow an age-appropriate program that will help them get healthy, achieve their personal goals and transform their lives during the course of the season. Dolgoff is a pediatrician, child obesity specialist, member of the Pediatric Task Force for the American Board of Obesity Medicine and author of “Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right.”

    The three kid participants this season are: Lindsay Bravo (eighth grade), 13, Fillmore, California, Sanjana “Sunny” Chandrasekar (11th grade), 16, Rochester, New York, and Noah “Bingo” Gray (eighth grade), 13, New Windsor, Maryland.

    The new adult contestants competing for the $250,000 will be:
    Dannielle “Danni” Allen (Advertising account coordinator), 26, Wheeling, Illinois; Jackson Carter (Volunteer coordinator for LGBT resource center and movie theater assistant manager), 21, Layton, Utah; Nicole “Nikki” Davis (Make-up artist), 26, Chatsworth, California; Michael Dorsey (College professor and communications consultant), 34, Baltimore, Maryland; Pamela Geil (Executive assistant), 43, New York, New York; David Jones (Police officer), 51, Kiefer, Oklahoma; Cate Laughlin (Student), 28, Ransomville, New York; Gina McDonald (Attorney and law firm owner), 47, Hoover, Alabama; Nate Montgomery (Financial advisor), 25, Colorado Springs, Colorado; Francelina Morillo (Student and store manager), 25, Albany, New York; Jeff Nichols (Pharmaceutical representative), 24, Monroe, Michigan; Joe Ostaszewski (Senior sales executive), 43, Williston, Florida; Thomas “TC” Pool (Purchasing manager), 31, Albany, Oregon; Lisa Rambo (High school special education assistant), 37, Houlton, Wisconsin; Alexandra “Alex” Reid (Legal assistant), 24, Carrolton, Texas.

  2. Should Have Been A PI says:

    Well…I just posted it three more times, the final time removing the ONE AND ONLY ONE link from the post (and it finally took).

    Sorry but I had to remove the ONE AND ONLY ONE link which revealed my source of the information.

    Because I was attempting to resend it without the link, I also removed the last paragraph of the article, as it listed a number of questions for the reader and was telling you to go to their website to give your feedback.

    I will make an attempt to disquise the address here, for you all to consider it as a puzzle, to see if you can figure it out.

    Good Luck

    Are you excited about the new season? Are you as excited as we are to have Jillian Michaels return for the new season of The Biggest Loser? We know you have an opinion and we want to hear it. Comment and share your thoughts below!”

    http COLON //realitytvmagazine DOT sheknows DOT com/2012/12/03/the-biggest-loser-season-14-cast-revealed/

  3. Should Have Been A PI says:


    WOW! You are amazing.

    Amazing that you’ve lost so much weight. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    Amazing that you’ve made it thru all these trials within your family. I pray everyone is now mending and should all be in tip top shape for the holiday season.

    Amazing that you can still be so positive thru it all. Thanks God for your faith.

    Keep up the great work.

  4. RogueWarrior says:

    Just wanted to let you all know that MCNUTTY’S DO actually make the show 🙂 Can’t reveal who I am just yet….but I indeed did make the show….MAIN reason I all of a sudden left the board. I will say this….MOST PEOPLE think they are ready for life on the ranch…you have NOOOOOO CLUE! However, I do count it a blessing that I am able to take part. Spread the word! This COULD be the last season of TBL if ratings don’t do what they need to do…one of the reasons for the short season. This is a great cast and I really do believe you are going to be inspired by their stories. Until later…enjoy your week!

  5. bigmamalove says:

    Way to go Rogue!

  6. Balzak75 says:

    Thanks for the positive support.

    Having someone from my home state cast is bittersweet I must say. I really think I was much too heavy for the show before. Now I know I would be a contender. Here’s hoping for another chance.

    I really would love to inspire others and help families at the same time!

  7. Balzak75 says:

    My wife and I just sang with our oldest daughter on our high school stage under the director in whom’s class we began dating over 20 years ago. What a wonderful blessing.

    We have always to wanted to start some type of children’s academy for the arts. We love music, it truly is the tie that binds. I started a new job and have been number one in my office since I began. I am praying we are accident free from here on out. My wife and I just celebrated our 16 year wedding anniversary on Friday.

    @ Rogue, congrats to whomever you are. Would’ve loved to have been there with you! Maybe you’ll be cheering me on for the next one. I will be getting the word out. Jillian has a way with ratings.

  8. Should Have Been A PI says:

    MERRY CHRISTMAS to anyone who is out there.

    I hope all your dreams come true.

  9. Claire says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year… My all your wishes come true

  10. Balzak75 says:

    Happy New Year to our McNutty clan! Hope and prayers that 2013 will be a wonderful year for us all.

  11. Should Have Been a PI says:

    Happy New Year Balzak75 and anyone else who may be out there!!!

  12. Old School Fattie says:

    Congrats to ROGUEWARRIOR.. I hope you telling us you made it, does not mean that you have been voted off already. I hope you get all you need from this experience. Hope you are still rocking it

    As for me.. I think I am so over the TBL. The show is over formulated and now just a product placement playground. I stopped watching last year because of the ungrateful cast. I am sure that this season is going to be 180 degrees different. I think that the producers know that if this season does not hit, they are in danger of losing their franchise.

    venting done… moving on…

  13. Anonymous says:

    Rogue! WTG! Let us know who you are!

  14. Curious/ Paris says:

    Congrats Rogue!

    Hope to see you at the Finale!!! : D whom ever you are!!!! 🙂

  15. SuperCyber15@ says:

    Well look at this familiar face :).

    Rogue congratulations!! Maybe next year will be the McNutty season.

    How are you all doing? I miss you all. Sorry I just kind of disappeared off the face of the earth.

    Excited for the premiere tomorrow :)!

  16. SuperCyber15 says:

    Wow I got just about everything wrong in that post didn’t I, haha.

  17. Anonymous says:

    We all disappeared off the face of the earth!

  18. Matthew McNutt says:

    For those wondering … RogueWarrior is Michael Dorsey on the new season. 🙂 Cheer him on – it would be great to see him go on and win the whole thing!

  19. SuperCyber15 says:

    Michael, just wanted to let you know:

    Caps lock: OMG.


  20. Should Have Been a PI says:

    CONGRATULATIONS Rogue Warrior!

    So excited for you. Hope you get everything you want and more out of it.

  21. Should Have Been a PI says:


    I believe you’ve mentioned a number of times in the past, you know of other former and / or current McNutties who were chosen / participated as contestants on TBL.

    Like as you did with Rogue Warrior, would you consider listing former McNutty / BL contestants (avatar and BL contestant’s names) for us McNutty veterans who would have likely known them.

    Thanks in advance and although I wrote it to everyone a few days ago, Happy New Year to you and your family.

  22. Anonymous says:

    So happy that Michael “McNutty” was blessed with a golden ticket! Can’t wait to see the first episode unfold!

  23. SuperCyber15 says:

    Tonight!! I cannot wait! I’ve gone a year without this show and I’m really excited :).

  24. Should Have Been a PI says:

    12 minutes

  25. Anonymous says:

    Aaaaaaaaaand season 15 is individuals!

  26. Matthew McNutt says:

    Wow … they’ve already announced casting for season 15! I’m closing comments on this post and moving the conversation to the season 15 blog post! Wow! Here’s the link:

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