Of all the TV reboots and continuations making waves recently, one of the more unique standouts is the tonally revamped update of The Biggest Loser. Having shifted to USA with a new pair of wellness-minded team captains in Erica Lugo and Steve Cook, the Bob Harper-hosted competition series returns to TV nearly four years after its 17-season run ended on NBC. It's not just the trainers that are changing on The Biggest Loser, either.
I had the pleasure of speaking with the fitness self-starter Erica Lugo at this year's Television Critics Association winter press tour, and one of the first things I asked about was how the show would recapture all the fans who regularly watched The Biggest Loser on NBC. Here's how she explained it:
Having seen the first couple of episodes of The Biggest Loser's new season, I can attest to those group sessions being as emotionally poignant and eye-opening as anything that went down during the show's first 17 seasons. To that end, Erica Lugo's description of Biggest Loser's distinction as a "feel-good show" couldn't be more applicable. It tugs at heartstrings in all kinds of ways.
As popular as The Biggest Loser was during its original run, the series was not without its controversies, largely stemming from the often dramatic weight-drops that sometimes led to dangerous relapses after contestants left the show, among other alleged practices. But that stuff is of a bygone era. USA's Biggest Loser still strives for big results for its contestants, of course, but with a far bigger push on getting at the mental and/or physical sources of the contestants' weight, so that shedding the pounds isn't just about people straining themselves into exhaustion.
When I asked about bringing the show back with a different appeal than what The Biggest Loser did in the past, here's how Erica Lugo answered:
Erica Lugo made it clear that even though she and fellow trainer/coach Steve Cook are competing against each other as the Red and Blue teams, the end goal for both of them is to help out as many contestants as they can. Again, this is a feel-good show, people.
However, don't expect for Erica Lugo to feel one way or another about following Jillian Michaels as a Biggest Loser trainer. In her words:
True to form, Erica Lugo said that with a big smile on her face that inspired the same kind of positivity that The Biggest Loser does with its return to primetime. Franchise fans should definitely tune in to see if they're as captivated as the show's stars hope everyone will be.
With Bob Harper back in the central hosting spot, following a scary heart attack in 2017, The Biggest Loser is set to debut on USA on Tuesday, January 28, at 9:00 p.m. ET. Stay tuned for more coverage from our talk with Erica Lugo.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper. Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.