Have you been watching the new season of “The Biggest Loser?” Apparently no one else is either. The show’s ratings have dropped 13% to just 5.6 million viewers, pretty low for NBC standards.
I talked with the producer last year (when I wrote for AOL) and he said they were specifically changing the show to place more emphasis on the emotional transformations that the contestants go through over the physical changes. This means less time shown in the gym and more screen time of contestants under a tree, confessing to the camera about the agita of the day.
There has been a lot of upheaval with the trainers too. While Bob Harper has been part of every single “Biggest Loser” season since its inception, Jillian Michaels’ bowing out last season (for the 2nd time overall) and the one-and-done appearance of two new trainers who came on board (Brett Hoebel and Cara Castronuova, both of whom didn’t get their contracts renewed) hasn’t helped as viewers usually crave consistency. With the start of season 12, the audience is now deciding if Anna Kournikova, known more for her modeling than tennis skills, and unknown Atlanta trainer Dolvett Quince are worth watching.
Honestly, I’ve watched every season. I have had major problems with the trainers over the years and think they are sometimes training unsafely. I’ve questioned their knowledge base and railed at the producers for not picking trainers with higher qualifications, but I always wind up hooked anyway because there is so much heart and guts coming from the contestants. Their struggles to change their own lives (and often those of their family members) always gets me and I always celebrate their successes. It’s darned inspiring.
But even I can’t bring myself to watch the show this year. I’ve got all three episodes clogging my DVR and every time I think about the two-hour time suck, I just can’t do it. I’d rather clean the kitchen or do laundry. I’m not the only one either; SkinnyEmmie, another long-time fan of the show, has given up too.
So will the network and producers be able to pull the show back from the brink? Will they bribe Jillian with a huge paycheck to come back for a third time? Will they finally hire a trainer with a background in something like exercise physiology or kinesiology? Will they just pull the plug and come up with some other reality-based show that they can push down our throats?
What do you think?