Biggest Loser casting tips (season 9)

Casting has begun for season nine of Biggest Loser. Here are some links with some great casting advice, followed by some of my own advice based on my experience getting on to season three of Biggest Loser (still the best season in my opinion!!!):

  • NBC has posted casting information and the application here.
  • Pete Thomas, the season 2 $100,000 winner has some of the best casting call advice out there, which you can find at
  • Jen Kerns, a season three contestant like myself, and a doctor for the show for seasons four and five, has also put together some fantastic casting advice that you can read here.
  • Holland, a casting director for Biggest Loser posted a ton of great casting advice in the comments below; I reposted here to make it easier to find.
  • My original casting tips post with over a thousand comments worth of discussion, click here.  Stacy, Adam, Phil, Amy and Coleen were all reading and posting in the discussion there – it’s fun to look back and realize they were some of the superstars of season six!
  • My second post (fairly identical to this one), with well over two thousand comments worth of discussion, click 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!  ;)

2,609 thoughts on “Biggest Loser casting tips (season 9)

  1. I saw on the website that the deadline for vid submission was changed to Sept. 4, so how did they already make the calls? Wouldn’t they still be watching videos?

    Just wondering!

    Hope you all are doing GREAT!

    Have a great day! It’s all up to you!


  2. Oh my goodness! I spelled my handle wrong on that last post! Weird thing is, that avatar looks a lot like me when I’m being sassy. LOL

    Oh well, I’m on drugs. I have bronchitis/sinusitis and strep throat on top of it all. LOL

    Feeling better finally though! I went to the most awesome doctor at a clinic Saturday morning (even if he is an Oklahoma fan).

    Hope you all have a great day! It’s all up to you!!


  3. Hi.

    I just discovered this blog while looking for info re: the casting process. I applied for season 9 and I got a call mid July about being considered for a future season. My hubby said he didn't want me to get too excited until I really knew the process and he was right (darn him). =)

    Having this in the back of my head has been good and bad. I have had time to plan a "what if" scenario in order to be ready to be gone for months and that will be fine. It would be hard to leave my kids and husband, but I need to trust that they will be fine. The kids may be dressed terribly, but I can live with that. lol! I have told friends about my call back, but I am on the down low as far as the social media sites, like Facebook, etc. I like to keep some things a mystery. The bad part is the not knowing. My life is busy (and that's half the weight problem) and I am wrapped up in the daily things, but my mind is still wondering where this may go. I have been able to process the pros and cons with the pros winning out….obviously years to my life and life to my years!!!

    I am ready to roll with the process.


  4. Did anyone else receive an e-mail early last week from saying that there were still spots open and if you were still interested to send your info in by 11am the next day?

    I went to a casting call in July alone and I thought I did really well and Jackie really seemed to like me but she said they weren't calling single players back until season 10 so I never got a call and didn't expect it. But then I got that e-mail that said to send them my info along with the info of a family member interested in doing it with me. I sent it back by the deadline (last weds) and haven't heard a thing back about it.

    I hate keep getting my hopes up!


  5. That does seem weird. I was told that if I was selected as a finalist my partner and I would be notified by August 21st. And it seems like from this post that other people were told similar dates. So why would they then extend the timeframe for submitting videos to September 4th?

    Maybe it keeps hype up about BL before Season 9 airs? Or maybe they are looking for a couple that they don't have? Like if they don't have a bro/sis team that they love maybe they'll accept vids hoping to find a last minute couple that meets that criteria?

    It seems odd…I guess all I need to know for this season is that they didn't pick me =)

    As to everything else, I suppose it's all guessing.


  6. It also seems interesting that the NBC site was changed to say tapes were being accepted until September 4th but the website still says August 7th.


  7. It does suck getting your hopes up and it's hard not to when you hear something, but it's still cool that you did hear something!

    I've tried out 2 seasons now (season 9 and 10) and each time I tell myself not to get my hopes up….but that's impossible. Every time I make it another step I think "it's going to happen" and then I hear nothing. But I still have to say it's cool to try…if I didn't audition I never would make the show so at least I tried.



  8. I am not sure what is worse: getting a call that says they will call you again in a few months, or not calling you until later. =) Now, I get to think about it and wonder…. a lot! I guess I will be very excited for the next step since the suspense is building!

    Jackie was the one who called me and I feel like I know her now since I played both messages on both lines many times to make sure it was not one of my friends playing around. LoL! I had been really busy and just getting back into town so I missed the calls! I was so excited and shocked to hear the messages. My husband was in the restroom and kept banging on the door, telling him he someone called and he had to hear it. Poor guy…It was pretty funny though.

    One of the messages was on my work phone and I redialed since I was in work mode. I didn't even think of not calling back. I wanted to let her know that I was sorry that I had missed the call and that I was excited. I just said to let me know if she needed anything. I was very professional. Then…I read blog comments about not calling back unless asked to do so. I hope it didn't make that big of difference since it was a courtesy call and not an annoying "call me" call.

    My mom was going to be my partner originally, but she had a hip replaced and is waiting to get another one. We both have rheumatoid arthritis and it is like looking into a crystal ball to see where I will be if I do not lose this weight! Jillian and Bob are on the cover of my recent Arthritis Today magazine and the article states that every extra pound on your body puts 8 pounds on stress on the joints! I have an extra 800 pound then, weighing on each joint! I am short and look smaller than most contestants, but I hope that will not keep me back! I have realized, since this process started, how ready I am for this! I am actually getting to know myself better.

    If there was another person who had a partner and they couldn’t make it, maybe they would put us together…a twist in the game. ??? Family doesn’t always mean blood relatives in this day and age, so who knows…OKAY-I’m reaching! Unless that miracle happens, I will wait for the call for season 10 with excitement and hope.

    Thanks for letting me ramble on. It is good to have a place where one can share with people who are going through similar things. Good luck to all trying out for The Biggest Loser! Maybe I will meet a few of you!

    =) Busy


  9. Well this is interesting Ilike the new format thanks Matt! I wonder whats going on with the casting process? They probably decided that they want something else or got some brilliant idea, oh well Ive got to start putting my attention on college. Any other college students out there?


  10. LTN – Just reading back and saw your note about the 'regulars' that hadn't posted in a while. I'm still around, and not on the ranch. *sigh* Things at work have been really crazy-busy so I decided to take a break from posting because I had become a little obsessed with the casting process. Anyway, glad to say I joined the gym on the 31st……Sad to say, I haven't been once!! I'm learning a lot about myself though. I have the ability to go to the gym but after a long chaotic day at work I retreat at home, and eat! Surprise, surprise. I do other things and meet up with friends for drinks and dinner but I leave work and I go and eat!!! Anyway, I haven't read back to far but look forward to catching up on everything. I hope everyone is doing great and hanging in there.

    Love and Cheers!



  11. hahaha…love my little picture!! Or avatar…whatever you call it! It changed since I last posted on here. It looks like me at the end of each day. And it's pink! Cute. I love pink!


  12. I've changed my screen name (I'm a frequent lurker and and a regular poster for this season under another name) because I too got an email last week from the biggest loser casting team saying there were a few spots left to fill. My partner got one too. We both responded but she didn't get hers in by the deadline. Mine was right on the deadline.

    We haven't heard anything since. We went to a cc in July, did not get a CB but had been contacted by our CD and this email came from the same address. I figured that they have the "theme" for BL9 and either a) had people back out at the last minute or b) they didn't have enough people to fit the "theme".

    Evidently, we could hear back from the email anytime up through 9/21 from what the email said.

    I bet season 10 will start casting calls after the new year. I think Season 8's CCs and application process went from Feb – April.


  13. The phone call I got said they would call me in a couple of months for the next season (10) and that was in July. That would put casting in Oct/Nov? I wonder if season 9 will be shorter than season 7??? The waiting game is tough. At least I can talk about the "just in case” with my family and it may make it a little easier if I make it. I do have little ones. Suspenseful!


  14. The past 2 years, casting for the Spring filming began in January. what I can tel you is that I applied for 6, they were very interested (you know it b/c they call you all the time w/ odd questions), I didn't make it w/ the'related to your partner' aspect.. which they hadn't disclosed at the time.

    The following FEBRUARY I get a call and a request to apply asa single… it was there the race began again and it resulted in making it very far in the process, but, ultimately, not the show (which would begin to air this coming week).

    Things I observed in the process: all CD's that I met were VERY cool… perhaps the reason they got and keep the job. Also, if BL is interested, YOU KNOW. If they ask for something by a deadline, try to keep the deadline yourself b/c they are being pressured at the top, too. They pick the wrong people ,the season doens't go as planned or perhaps they change the 'theme' at the last minute and perhaps, w/o your info in at a certain point, you get overlooked. Now b/c of you, but b/c they didn't have the date to support their opinion of how great you are.

    Also, Dr. H is a petite man… seems smaller in real life that I had anticipated… guess TV really does at 10lbs.

    ME? Down almost 30 lbs since I met him. Good luck to yu all!


  15. Hi – new here to the whole blog thing.

    Can anyone tell me if they did in fact end up going with only blood related couples or if it was bros/sis, parent/child ect.?


  16. RI girl,

    I'm sorry you went so far and didn't get on. Good for you about the 30 pounds.Thanks for the info. That is a long time to wait, so I will try not to think of it all of the time. I had no idea how it worked until this blog. Thanks!


  17. So…..I am still hopeful that my call back will result in something great- no matter what. However, I was just diagnosed with a cavernous angioma and I already have RA (or possibley AS). Great. So, surgery on my spine is what is up for me. I could still be ready by spring filming and boy does it just add another layer to my story….but okay-enough already….I need no more added to my story. =) Now, I pray for my health and my future. Don't count me out!


  18. WOW! I didn't realize there was still CD contact at this point! How hopeful/fun is that? I gave up in early August sometime after no contact for a couple of weeks. My partner has never even made a callback, so I was pretty sure they weren't interested- but I continued in the process hoping they would keep me in mind for another season.

    Good Luck to all!


  19. Rumor: I have heard filming starts Sept. 28, but they are still assembling the cast until the Sept. 21 sequestering. Don't give up until you know the filming has started! I am learning more and more each day to fight like mad and never give up hopes and dreams! When filming starts, if you are not there, continue the fight! Luck to you all!


  20. Rumor: I have heard filming starts Sept. 28, but they are still assembling the cast until the Sept. 21 sequestering. Don't give up until you know the filming has started! I am learning more and more each day to fight like mad and never give up hopes and dreams! When filming starts, if you are not there, continue the fight against this weight monster! Luck to you all!


  21. Hey, Nobody answered my question from a week ago. Does anybody know if season 9 is in fact parent/child teams? ……..Or maybe you all know that your not suppose to say if you do know??? Well if anyone knows anything that your allowed to share, about how they decided to go about doing things, please share. If not i will get the hint 🙂


  22. Kenny:

    I had researched the casting process after I got my call back. I found a few blogs that linked to other blogs and so forth. One said Sept. 28th was the filming date.

    You are right, it is hard to let go when you feel like so much is riding on this. I feel that way; like this is my chance to pull away from my life and focus on me and my life.

    About me: I am a mother of three young kids (older mom in my early 40s). I stay home, but run a business out of my home. I love to laugh as well. I can be very silly. I do poke fun at myself, especially because I really look pregnant. I have even gone along with people (if I didn’t know them) when they have insisted I was. People have even touched my belly and asked if it is due soon. This belly is very dangerous to my health, even if it seems funny. I am a short person and I don't look as big as the people who go on the show, but my BMI is 36 and my waist is 44! I am 210 pounds and that is big for 5'3"….okay 5'2 3/4", but don't you round up? I may not have as much to lose, but I am pre-diabetic, have high cholesterol, I have GERD (and have aspirated vomit from my stomach pushing stuff up) and I have RA. There are people my size watching the show and thinking since they are not as big as most of the contestants, that they are okay. They really are not okay. I could represent those who are like me. I have been told by all of my doctors, that it is essential that I lose weight soon! I want to live

    I am so sorry about the death in your family. My brother-in-law died a few years back and it has turned our lives up-side-down. I really understand. One important thing he has made me think of lately is to appreciate our functioning bodies. He had muscular dystrophy and was so hurt when he saw people who could run, walk, climb and use their bodies, but they didn’t. It was a frustrating for him. That sticks with me and I hope I can get on the ranch and better this body!


  23. Busy- I know what you mean, and can totally relate. Our issues are our own, however, and even Bob and Jillian are constantly trying to get the message through that THEY don't lose the weight for the contestants. They have to do it for themselves. That is why I am trying to concentrate on what I can do for myself. Biggest Loser is a lottery drawing to some degree. We have a better chance of getting struck by lightening! From now until February (or whenever the next round of craziness starts) I have decided to take baby steps toward a better me. 5 months is a long time to wait at such a slim chance! Have hopes and dreams in yourself, and create your own future happiness.

    I showed up to a casting call for season 9 knowing I really didn't have a partner, and knowing the one possibility wouldn't see it through to the end (she flat out said she wouldn't go on the show, but would do what she could to help me). I also knew that they did not call her back after the season 8 casting call- they only called me.

    I really never had it in my thoughts that I would be in the running for season 9. I just wanted to get the CDs attention. It seems I've read over and over again about people getting contacted for another season after they tried out for one season. I knew I wasn't a good fit for 9- I wonder what they will be looking for in season 10 (assuming there will be one!). With any luck by next February I'll be well on my way, and when the CD calls me I'll have to tell them I simply don't qualify anymore!


  24. Tempted,

    You are so right! Thanks for the inspiration! I do have to do it for me and not just my kids, my husband or late brother-in-law. I want to live, so I need to do it regardless. I will see what happens with my call back, but you are right. We need to believe in ourselves.



  25. So I got a call from two people in BL casting- Lacy and Jackie about two months ago. Jackie was the one I talked to and she said she really liked me and was wondering if I had anyone to pair up with in my family for season 9… but I didn’t =[ So she said she was going to write my name down for season 10- individuals, and call me in a couple of months.. which would currently be in a couple of day. I need some advice… should I call them? or wait for them to call me? And does anyone have ANY information on season 10? like if they have began to look at contestants for season 10 or are they still focusing on season 9? or do you know when season 10 would start filming? Any information would be appreciated! Thanks so much! =]


  26. Yea it's really tough. I applied to be on the current season (8) as an individual a few months back, but I literally sent in my tape the last day of the deadline to send in our videos. I didn't hear anything (and I kept hearing things like- if they want you they'll call you within about a month) so I assumed they didn't want me and I was really hurt because I've never really put myself out there or tried something like this. So I moved on and forgot about BL and then BAM I get two messages from them and now the anticipation/nervousness/excitedness starts again. I guess I just really don't know how the process works. I have so many questions and I just feel like I have no idea what to do haha And yea it's a big bummer that we couldn't partner up with someone in my family… but I'm literally the only "big" one. (p.s. I even asked Jackie if we could pretend to make someone my "relative" but she said they actually had to be a legitimate relative haha) You don't think I should call them? I mean what if they forgot about me? And wouldn't a little call just let them know that I really am interested? And how many people do you think they call? Should we feel "special" or do you think they call tons of potential candidates? Sorry for the questions! It's just nice to have someone in the same boat to talk to!


  27. I got the same call with the same result. I heard season 9 filming starts next week, so that would put season 10 filming in Feb. (?) I was told I would get a call in “a couple of months” as well, but season 10 casting doesn’t start until December. The bummer fo us is that we were considered for season 9 and got as far as we did but both had no family partners. I hope that gives us a leg up even though there will be all new casting calls, etc. Cross your fingers! Hope to meet you Hopeful! I wouldn’t call them if you actually talked to them. The waiting is tough when we have such busy lives, but we can do it ! =)


  28. So Excited….. How are you…. I’ve been pouting for the last month that I didn’t get selected but I’m back and ready to try again….Wow….everyone I know here is gone….looks like I need to make new friends again 🙂


  29. haven't had a chance to read posting, but Holland reported that season 9 has been cast and that if you hadn't been flown out, she was sad to say….you know the rest. this may already be common info, but in case… thought I'd post


  30. Hopeful, you can go to CD Holland's Facebook Fan page and become a fan. She has been answering questions on her wall. You can ask if she thinks you should call back. She seems to be very nice. Funny, she looks like this awesome cousin of mine. …So she must be great! Her page is called: Holland Master Caster Striplin.

    I feel the same way. The not knowing is so hard. Season 10 casting…here we come!


  31. Busy and Hopeful…..I also got the same call… 2 months ago. I didn't have a family member so I am on hold for a couple of months until Season 10. This waiting game is hard. I'm hanging in there and will see what Season 10 brings!


  32. Thank you Busy!

    Determined- Hopefully we will be one of the lucky ones chosen for season 10! p.s. I really like your name!


  33. Thanks hopeful. I am thinking positive for season 10!

    Right now I have a virus that may be H1N1 (it is all over the Chico/Durham,CA area). I am sure I will lose weight, but not quite what I had in mind! It is like the flu and add intestinal stuff. NOT FUN.

    I guess shooting for BL9 started today! I was a few days off on my previous guess.

    I am excited for the season 10 casting to start, but I hope it isn't until I am well!


  34. Busy- I hope you feel better! I've heard this will be a really rough season of flu.

    It doesn't make sense to me that the casting for season 10 would start in December. That is usually the finale for the current season, and then casting starts after the New Year. Do we know for sure there will be a season 10?

    BTW- I'm really enjoying a singles season this go- around. I get tired of the couples concept and don't find it as interesting!


  35. Thanks Tempted, I am getting there. This virus is a tough one to kick. I pray my kids don't get it. Vitamin C and D everyone and lots of rest!!!

    It was posted somwhere that season 10 casting calls will begin in "early 2010." So it is a longer wait than I thought. Luckily, I am so "busy" that time will fly by.

    I do like the singles seasons! They could keep singles and pair them up differently or just change the themes each season. I think casting would be easier, too. I have thought of some fun themes, but they would all suit me, hee hee.

    I will keep checking this post to see what's new with everyone. For now, I wish you all good health!


  36. Hi Everyone!! Long time no post 🙂

    I hope everyone is enjoying BL8!! The cast is amazing, if I do say so myself 🙂

    I am hoping some of you will be interested in the brand new show i'm casting as well. It's completely UNRELATED to BL, 3Ball Productions, or NBC so PLEASE DO NOT contact anyone from those companies about this new show!! I freelance as a casting director so when BL isn't casting I move on to other shows. It just so happens that this new show is about weight loss also!

    Here is the info. Please follow instructions and send all questions to me via email because I may not be able to check this blog daily, k?

    Holland Striplin, Casting Director for the huge hit shows "The Biggest Loser (NBC – Tuesdays 8/7c)" & “DietTribe 2 (Lifetime – Fridays 9/8c)” is now casting a NEW WEIGHT LOSS show where YOU and a PARTNER can LOSE WEIGHT & GET RICH for losing it!!!

    Are you ready to change your life?

    Do you and a friend have a combined total of at least 100 pounds to shed? (Each can have any amount to lose as long as the total between the two of you is 100+ to lose)

    Are you willing to BET on yourself to compete for BIG MONEY on national TV?

    If you said “YES, YES, YES”, then it’s time to put your money where your mouth is and audition for this new competition weight loss show.

    A hit cable network is looking for teams of two who are a combined 100 pounds or more overweight to compete to be the first team to lose 100 pounds with the help of top health professionals and fitness experts. Studies have shown that financial incentives give a better chance at successfully losing weight and we want to see you succeed. Teams will have a chance to bet their own money, banking on their ability to lose the pounds. So ante up and get ready to be RICH and THIN!!!!

    If you and a friend, spouse, family member or co-worker think you have the dedication, drive and determination to finally lose the weight, then email me HOLLAND@ICONICCASTING.COM

    I need the following information. If I do not receive ALL of this information in ONE email from you then your submission will be DISCARDED! Again, please send YOUR and YOUR PARTNERS info in the SAME EMAIL!!!

    Please include EACH of your:




    Cities and States where you live

    Contact phone numbers

    Email for each of you

    Each of your Current Height/Weight

    Tell us about your relationship with one another


    Attach a current photo of the two of you (can be together or separate)

    Characters welcome. Must be over 18 years of age to apply and a US Citizen.

    **If you have further questions then please email me back or refer to my “discussion” about this show on my Facebook Fan Page. You can find the fan page by searching “Master Caster” in the Facebook search box. Please add me there as I only add close personal friends to my personal FB page




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