Biggest Loser is casting kids?

Well, I have a lot of thoughts on this one.

Here is what I know based on my own experience as a former contestant and the stories from my other alumni: the Biggest Loser experience itself, months of isolation and reality TV manipulation, as well as the resulting media attention, the brutal online fan reactions and criticisms and more all made being part of a weight loss competition something that has long lasting emotional and psychological ramifications. Yes, I had a blast doing it, but I have many friends who have said after going through it that they would NEVER encourage one of their loved ones to ever be a part of it. It’s brutal.

As a youth worker, I know all too well the confusion of adolescence. With hormones raging, enormous pressures from peer groups, schools and home, and the crucial identity formation taking place, the teenage years are a volatile and intense stage of development with massive potential for long lasting damage.

I cannot imagine a scenario where throwing a group of 13-17 year old adolescents into anything remotely similar to what my fellow alumni and I experienced as being anything other than damaging for them.

What do you think? Agree or disagree? And why?

Predisposed to weight regain?

After 13 seasons of NBC’s Biggest Loser, Dr. Huizenga, the lead doctor for the show, has accumulated several hundred individuals whom he has been tracking, studying, and doing significant obesity and weight loss research on. When it comes to studying individuals who have lost weight at an aggressive, rapid pace based on counting calories and heavy exercise, he is one of only a few doing anything on the subject.

His latest article on the topic, based on his research, did not give good news. One of his hopes with the program he designed for Biggest Loser was that through intense exercise the muscle mass under the fat would be retained (the reality is, someone who is several hundred pounds has a solid core of muscle existing to just transport the weight) and the weight loss would be mostly fat loss (in a typical diet plan, it is not unusual to lose muscle weight as well as fat weight). Ultimately the hope was the muscle mass and exercise would bring the metabolism to a healthier norm. Unfortunately, his research indicates otherwise:

Despite relative preservation of FFM [fat free mass, e.g., muscle], exercise did not prevent dramatic slowing of resting metabolism out of proportion to weight loss. This metabolic adaptation may persist during weight maintenance and predispose to weight regain unless high levels of physical activity or caloric restriction are maintained.

In other words, all these years where I was swearing I put weight on easier than others around me? It wasn’t my imagination. The reality is, after a lifetime of abusing my metabolism, my body gravitates towards a heavier norm. His phrase ‘high levels of physical activity or caloric restriction are maintained’ literally means dieting for life.

The weird thing is, I was actually relieved to read his findings. It made a lot of my frustrations make sense. It doesn’t give me an excuse, but it does help me to understand that there is no easy health road for individuals like me. I will always need to count calories. I will always need to exercise three to five hours a week. Otherwise I will eventually outweigh my pre-Biggest Loser self.

Biggest Loser Casting Call locations announced!

Holland Strickland, the casting director in charge of casting for Biggest Loser posted the following on Facebook – including the dates and cities for Biggest Loser open casting calls:




We hope to see you at a casting call near you, however, if you cannot attend a casting call then BE SURE to send us a video audition! We watch ALL videos that come in by the deadline! Even if you attend a casting call it’s a good idea to also send an audition video to double your chances! We will be updating our website this week with pre-registration, casting call information, how to make a video, deadlines, and all other important information…we will announce when it goes LIVE! Our casting team promises to do our best updating you throughout the casting process on,, and!

Please read our prior tweets, FB posts, and website FAQ before asking questions that likely have already been answered. We appreciate your cooperation as we may not able to respond to every single tweet, email, or Facebook post. Most importantly, there will be MANY rumors you will hear by reading other potential candidates posts, tweets, blogs, etc…unless you hear it straight from the BL14 Casting Team then it may not be true. The BL14 Casting Team should be your go-to source of casting information. Throughout the casting process we suggest avoiding driving yourself crazy by listening to all the speculation by other candidates as it may cause unnecessary self-doubt, depression, emotional eating, etc…and as you know we want to promote as much positivity, healthy lifestyles, and an overall fun and exciting casting process for everyone involved! Last but not least, if you are considering auditioning but are on the fence, we say GO FOR IT! EVERY SINGLE CONTESTANT that has ever been on the show was on the fence at one point and never thought we would pick them…now here they are living the new and healthy life they always dreamed of! With that we say…WELCOME TO BL14 EVERYONE! SIT BACK, RELAX, and ENJOY THE ADVENTURE YOU ARE ABOUT TO EMBARK ON!

-The BL14 Casting Team

Biggest Loser casting tips (season 14)

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! ;)

Biggest Loser Finale

My random reactions to the finale …

  • Wow! Congrats to Jeremy! Losing 199 pounds in seven months is amazing no matter how you look at it!
  • I wasn’t thrilled with the one hour format. It felt like Ali was sprinting with all her words, everything was a little too rushed, and the contestants and trainers for the most part didn’t get to say much. At the same time, I liked that it was very focused on the transformations and celebrating the weight loss. The two hour format has always felt a little too drawn out for me with too many video recaps. Maybe 90 minutes is the sweet spot?
  • For a bunch of emotional eaters, listening to the viewers slam their season yet still pulling out amazing transformations across the board was awesome to see.
  • I still see a lot of negativity about certain contestants online. Personally, I’m still giving them all the benefit of the doubt until I hear it from the people present. Otherwise I’m chalking it up to editing.
  • I wish I was there!!! There is nothing like partying with a bunch of Biggest Loser alumni!
  • I was a bit chapped that even though Mark, Buddy and Joe were in the audience, they didn’t acknowledge them in any way. Say whatever you want about them quitting, NBC milked it like crazy for ratings. As much as they may have blasted them on the show, when TMZ originally busted the news their ratings jumped, and I would imagine that the actual walkout episode was some of their best ratings in years. I know my blog alone saw around a 2000% increase in traffic that week – it got people talking about an aging reality show. That’s money in the bank for them. All that to say, I would have liked to have seen their presence acknowledged in some way so we could see the weight they loss. They did before and after photo shoots of them supposedly for the NBC website, but they haven’t posted them yet (the rest of the cast is online, so it seems intentional).

Biggest Loser producer admits they made a mistake

The New York Post and Reality Blurred posted articles about an interview with the producer seen in the ‘walk off’ episode of Biggest Loser. Some revealing tidbits that, honestly, confirm some of my suspicions.

In the episode they portrayed the contestants as having a clear understanding all along of exactly how the game would play out regarding eliminated contestants, setting the viewer up to sympathize with mystified production staff who were just going along with what they had said they were going to do all along. The same producer’s comments in the interview, however, suggest something else:

Lubin acknowledges that the contestants “made one good point: We should have been clear from the beginning [about the returning-contestants twist]. We did that last season, on Day One, but this season it was only implied and then happened so late in the game.”

‘Only implied’? Late in the game – later than has ever happened before? Implied is a world different than the ‘clearly stated’ portrayal they gave in the episode.

In addition, he talks about how both Mark and Buddy are forbidden to do any media/interviews about the walkoff and their reasons for doing so. Some might speculate, what difference does that make? They broke the contract once, what stops them a second time? Simply that the show never has financially punished someone for quitting; it’s not even the first time this season (remember Joe Messina?). However, it is clearly stated in the contract that they will sue if a contestants’ actions threaten the value of the show (in other words, profitability), with the penalty being in the million dollar range.

The thing is, the fact that they are tightly enforcing that, and what we saw in the episode was so clearly staged for the cameras after the real conversations had already taken place, gives more weight to the idea that there is more to the story than we saw. It wasn’t just about returning eliminated contestants.

I’ve heard it from so many different corners now that I really do believe one of the issues behind the conflict between producers and cast is the portrayal of the cast on the show. Lubin even mentions in the interview that how they were being portrayed was an issue particularly significant for Mark and Buddy as pastors. The general reaction from cast members is shock to find out their season has come across as one of the most drama filled to date – their perception was that it was a great experience, not the conflict we have seen. I know as a pastor I went into my season very nervous about the potential damage bad editing could have on my ministry – it was something I had in the back of my mind as something worth walking over.

I know the response has been consistently been from some quarters, ‘it doesn’t matter how much editing does, they still made the faces, said the words, and had the moments.’ The problem is, things can be taken wildly out of context. I remember being disappointed at the portrayal of one of the women on my season; she was deeply religious and NEVER swore. Yet she was bleeped repeatedly in just about every episode she was in. Why? The story written for the season before any of us had ever shown up had her on the ‘evil’ team, part of the villainous trio of women they wanted viewers to hate. So innocent words were bleeped to give the perception that she was foul mouthed.

On another reality show, another deeply religious woman and church leader was portrayed as watching other contestants skinny dip in the pool. Just staring away. Only thing was, the first she ever knew of the skinny dipping was when she watched the episode at home – editors had spliced together footage of her sitting by the pool one day, with the footage of the other housemates skinny dipping. But the damage was done; people were shocked to think she was some sort of dirty gawker.

I love the video before – it shows some great tricks to the trade:

Here’s the thing, I love Biggest Loser. I had an amazing experience. I would do again in a heart beat. I made incredible friendships, learned volumes about health and myself. But I feel bad when good people get hurt because of the realities of a tv genre that survives on conflict, fan reaction, and drama – whether there was any or not. For me, that means I will always give contestants on any reality show the benefit of the doubt. Because there are always two sides to any story, and the cast are not the ones sharing their side. Especially in this particular instance.

I keep telling myself I’m done blogging about this episode. I think I really am this time!

Why all the drama, Biggest Loser?

For the record, Bob was wrong when he said eliminated players have been coming back since the beginning. The first time that happened on American soil was season three with the crew you see above (I’m the tall one in the middle!). Australia’s version of Biggest Loser actually did it first the year before – Bob and Jillian were trainers there as well, so he can get a pass for feeling like he’s been seeing this happen forever. Although I did find it amusing that he was acting like it was no big deal – back in season three, he was furious and kind of a jerk over the whole thing!

Anyway, all the drama this season has me thinking about it again, and I’ve seen a lot of comments from people who are mystified by the reactions by the ranch cast, don’t understand why they would react that way, etc. Here are some of my disorganized thoughts on eliminated players returning and why viewers, eliminated cast, and ranch cast have the reactions they do …

First, the viewers.

Here is the truth: people love an underdog. We identify with them. We root for them. We love to see them overcome extreme odds and beat the favorites. It’s why movies like Rocky, Rudy, Cool Runnings, and just about every other sports movie made does well. When it comes to Biggest Loser, we feel awful for the eliminated contestants – especially if it happens on the first day. We love seeing them come back and win – it’s inspiring, it’s encouraging, and honestly, they’re typically the ones we identify with in a lot of ways, especially if as a viewer you’re wishing you could be on the show – you just get it in your gut why they are trying so hard to get that spot back. And if you’re identifying with the underdog, you’re naturally going to be furious with the people slamming them or trying to keep them out.

I don’t think Biggest Loser realized that at first. It’s part of the reason why I think they’ve never done something like they did in my season again; they thought the ranch cast would be the heroes and the at home contestants would be a fun novelty. Instead, the online response was overwhelmingly in support of the home contenders and against the ranchers! People felt so bad for us, and they wanted us to succeed – meanwhile, they were turned off by all the game play on the ranch. Not a great business model if the bulk of the financial investment and risk is centered around the 14 chosen for the ranch. People identified with us, felt the pain of us being rejected on the first day of the ranch, and felt enraged when it felt like insult was added to injury when we returned to the ranch only to be angrily and bitterly welcomed with comments from the ranchers along the lines of the first priority being to vote us off, it didn’t seem fair, and so on.

The Eliminated.

Another surprising thing about eliminating players? For some, it is like rocket fuel. It turns out extended time on the ranch is NOT necessary for weight loss. Motivation is necessary. Over and over, from season to season, we have seen contestants eliminated in the first weeks of the show (or the first day in my case!), go home and disappear … only to return not only thinner, but ahead of the cast on the ranch both in percentage and weight lost. This was genuinely shocking to the producers at first; how could this be possible?

I can’t speak for every eliminated contestant, but as someone who did return without having the trainers or gym once, and yet still ahead of everyone on the ranch in percentage loss and pounds loss, here’s what I know: I was ticked. That rejection, being sent home, gave me a laser focus. While they were distracted by game play, challenges, unknown schedules, being jerked around by production staff and a thousand other things, all I thought about was getting my spot back on the ranch and showing everyone they were wrong for discounting me. I exercised at the gym until my feet bled, I could hardly move for weeks because of my sore muscles, a number of times I passed out or almost passed out – all because I was so determined to get back. That’s why it never surprises me to see eliminated contestants, or even eliminated teams (black team, season four) come back and dominate. It takes the competitive edge to another level.

The Ranch Contestants.

Let’s be real, in this whole discussion (actually, monologue), these are the ones who kind of get the raw end of the deal. In what other competition can you play by the rules, eliminate someone and then have them show up again rested, focused, and having another shot at the prize while you’re worn down, fried and emotionally drained? And by the way, their arrival will be timed by behind the scenes people to be a moment most shocking and difficult for you because they’re hoping you’ll lose it on camera so they can have a controversial episode that will make fans react (reread the viewers portion if you’ve forgotten!). This may sound funny from a guy who got twice as many episodes as he would have because of the whole returning contestants thing, but I think I get it. I knew way back in season three that our return would upset ranchers simply because I knew I would be upset by it. Here are some of the factors that shape their reactions …

  • It prolongs the game. The truth is, once someone has been at the ranch for months … they don’t need the ranch. People have pulled off incredible results after only a few days with the trainers and nutritionists. Once you’ve learned the lessons, you can do it. Months in, it’s about the game play and the prize. For every returning contestant, it means it will be that much longer before the eventual winner can see their  family again. And with weeks sometimes taking longer than seven days to film, bringing back a couple contestants means anywhere from 2-3 weeks more completely cut off from family. That’s draining and a shock to the system – especially if you’ve been counting down to seeing your kids after being away for months. On my season, Bobby came and apologized to us later saying, ‘all I was thinking when I saw you was, I thought we had two weeks left and now we have four.’
  • Survivor. Being on the ranch is HARD. It is physically, emotionally and mentally draining. There is a reason why former contestants don’t recommend their loved ones go on the show – it’s not what anyone expects. For those who have spent day after day, month after month, surviving that environment, lasting through elimination after elimination, it is really hard to see someone else get a shot at the prize without enduring the environment.
  • The unknown. It is a game show. Just like Apprentice, Survivor, Wheel of Fortune, Biggest Loser is first and foremost a game show. After a few weeks on the ranch, everyone knows each other, what to expect, and how things will probably go. We don’t like change. And the cast is generally a lot of type A personalities who want control and have lost it. Bringing someone new in to the mix completely changes everything and causes all types of chaos. When you’re already on the emotional edge, this feels even more dramatic.
  • Intimidation. How would you feel if you had been training with Bob for two or three months, killing yourself, thinking you’re winning the game and dominating the competition only to have somebody show up that you haven’t seen in months, you haven’t bonded with, and by all rights (in your mind) should be way behind because they don’t have the freedom to just focus on weight loss … only to have them hop on the scale and reenter the competition at the top of the pack? Part of the reaction we see is a result of the intimidation coming from thinking you have all the competition figured out only to have a new front leader added to the mix who is rested, strong, and mentally fresh.
  • Jealousy. This is the biggest one in a lot of ways. Most people sign up for Biggest Loser because they honestly believe they just can’t do it at home on their own – I was one of those people. They willingly give up contact with their family, friends, they turn over their cell phones, get cut off from mail, media, TV, and really the outside world. They allow people half their age to shuttle them around like cattle, treat them like a commodity, manipulate their emotions daily, all for the sake of losing weight they thought they couldn’t do on their own. Only to have someone show up, ready to compete for the big prize, while also having had the time home immersed with everything they have given up. That was one of the questions that infuriated Bob back in my season from the ranchers – ‘why did we give up everything to be here when they stayed at home and are beating us?’ It is brutal to realize you could have had it all – the game, your family, your world, and still lose the weight.

Ultimately, I think all the reactions are okay. It makes sense to me. I don’t like when one group lashes out at another group (viewer to rancher, rancher to eliminated, etc) because it feels like the wrong target for the animosity. The reality is, the show intentionally creates an environment for this to happen. They want the viewers worked up because that’s good for ratings. They want the contestants exploding because that’s good TV. Most reality shows keep the alcohol constantly stocked because it makes for less inhibited contestants. Biggest Loser can’t do that – too many calories, so they create drama other ways.

So at the end of the day, as a former eliminated contestant that got a less than enthusiastic reception at the ranch (watch season 3, episode 8 on Netflix if you’re curious), I think it would be a lot better to take a step back and look at the bigger context before coming to any conclusions about someone.

Thoughts on the Biggest Loser walkout

I don’t know the full story. You can watch the first fifteen minutes of the episode above to see what I’m commenting on. I think anyone who saw last night’s episode does not know the actual story. Here are some of my thoughts …

There are two sides two every conflict. In this particular case, one side (Biggest Loser) got to control the portrayal of the story. Coincidentally, it came across making them look right. I would weigh that in any opinions formed. Had the contestants controlled the editing, the portrayals, and how it played out, I wonder how it would have appeared. I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that the show picked up when it was basically over; there is not a moment that contestants are not on camera. Hidden cameras, camera men … why didn’t we get to see the initial conflict, how it began, their conversations with each other and the directors? We only get to see the aftermath, when they’re all sitting there silently? Every moment of their conversations with each other and the production staff was caught on film and on audio, guaranteed.

Seasons 1-12 were produced by 3Ball studios. For season 13, NBC switched control to a different production company. It is a new staff of producers, camera people, staff, etc. About the only thing held over were the celebrity host and trainers. Something in the back of my mind was wondering how the contestants have been handled to build to that kind of explosion; I don’t know their stories. I do know that of the several hundred former contestants, over the last half year I don’t think one has said anything positive about the new production company’s handling of contestants or former contestants (we communicate regularly). I think they very much contributed to the conflict, and it’s no coincidence that this kind of explosion did not happen under 3Ball’s watch.

I don’t for one moment believe the timeline in the episode. The clock telling the time, the idea that it started one morning and was over the next, the trainers being surprised, a lawyer prepped and ready for the camera within an hour, etc. For example; in my season’s opening episode, what was portrayed as the first the 30 minutes on the ranch actually took two FULL days to film. We were told to dress the same, do our hair the same, use the same clothes (right down to the same pair of socks), etc., so that it could be edited together to represent a much shorter period of time. When the story hit the news it was well known that production shut down for several days. Several days worth of negotiating, debating, and struggling through all of it was reduced to fifteen minutes. What we saw was a highly edited, reduced and sanitized version of 60-100 hours worth of drama.

The ‘contract’ read to Jeremy was a prop. Three or four pieces of paper? That’s a joke. It was used to communicate the idea that he should have easily remembered what he signed, to make the contestants look ridiculous. In reality, the contracts are over 40 pages long. At the beginning of the episode Ali mentioned in the voice over that they had started over four months before (but it’s week 16? Shouldn’t that be just under four months … Biggest Loser weeks film for more than 7 days sometimes … more on that later). Is it any wonder that he didn’t remember something in a 40+ page legal document signed five to six months before (you sign the contract before you ever fly out; they don’t want to waste time and money on you if you’re not going to sign it).

Most reality shows film in 30-40 days; Biggest Loser films for 4-6 months. On top of that, everything is controlled. The contestants are bossed around, shuttled and handled by production assistants half their age. The schedule for the day is found out in the morning. Communication with the outside world is cut off. All of this is done to heighten the emotional tension and drama with the purpose of creating and manipulating ‘great’ reality TV. Even other reality show contestants can’t understand the state of mind it puts a person in to have lived under that for the length of time the final five had.

People have criticized Mark and Buddy for leaving because they were quitters, whiners about the game, etc. If it was really so simple, I don’t think for a moment the two pastors would have walked away. We have mutual friends in the ministry world that have nothing but good things to say about them and their integrity. I trust their assessment of them. Buddy was a very real contender for the prize. That money represents many years of a pastor’s salary – I remember when it was potentially in my reach, I was almost hospitalized as a result of my efforts to win the runner up prize! It is very, very appealing. If it was as black and white as NBC portrayed it, they wouldn’t have walked away from it so close to the end. A lot more went on during those days when production was shut down than we saw.

Anyway, just some of my jumbled thoughts to say … don’t form an opinion based one what you saw. It was a very small, very controlled peek of something that was a lot bigger.

Biggest Loser Binge?

I thought Matt and Suzy Hoover, the royal first couple of Biggest Loser (I love that Biggest Loser has produced many more marriages than the Bachelor series), made some great points in their video review of last weeks Biggest Loser episode.

I had a lot of the same reactions as them; wondering how in the world Chris would have gotten the jars of peanut butter and mayo, how she could have gotten the food, and who in the world binges with several camera guys right in their face? There were at least 2-3 people in there with her filming that. I loved Matt’s comment about the lighting being too perfect for a real binge.

What most viewers don’t realize is just how controlled, chaperoned and policed reality TV contestants are. Phone access is cut off, we don’t even get to have the room keys to hotel rooms, food can’t just be ordered – there is a tight, tight rein, and no time where a contestant is not unsupervised, whether through hidden cameras or production staff literally in the room ‘babysitting.’

Anyway, I thought Matt and Suzy were on to something with their conspiracy theories. What about you? What do you think? Real deal or staged?