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After a fairly long time away from television, The Biggest Loser is back, with former show trainer (and heart attack survivor) Bob Harper reprising his role as host. However, the showmade some big changes for its revival season on USA, in the hopes of not only bringing former viewers back, but captivating new ones as well. CinemaBlend spoke with Harper about the changes coming to the quasi-reboot, as well as some of The Biggest Loser's past practices that would be intentionally avoided in 2020.
Some may remember The Biggest Loser's original run on NBC was not without some controversy. There were those who criticized the series' tactics for getting contestants to lose weight, as well as other competitive elements that potentially caused more harm than good during contestants' weight-loss journeys. Bob Harper told me two big and familiar elements from The Biggest Loser's initial run would not be returning in the reboot, saying:
We're not doing those Temptations that we used to do. We're not doing the vote off. It's going to be just more story-driven and showing people what it takes to really change your life. That is the major focus of The Biggest Loser.
The Temptation Challenges Bob Harper was referring to were the events in which The Biggest Loser would put out a smorgasbord of unhealthy foods that competitors were known to be partial to, in order to challenge them. More often than not, one or more contestants would break down and get to binge-eating. The new version of The Biggest Loser isn't into toying with the contestants like that.
Bob Harper also noted that The Biggest Loser will no longer allow/force competitors to vote off their fellow team members, which sometimes resulted in the people making the most progress being voted off so that those struggling could have a better shot at the prize money. That kind of shifty behavior is also being curbed.
Instead, The Biggest Loser will now only eliminate contestants with the lowest percentage loss on the losing team after each week's big challenge. Though those eliminated do still head home, The Biggest Loser has set up exiting contestants with a year-long gym membership, a nutritionist, and support group access so that they can continue their fitness journey with as many resources as possible.
Setting up contestants for further weight loss and wellness after leaving the show is another part of the changes inherent to The Biggest Loser this year. The fitness world and ideologies on health have changed in recent years, and Bob Harper said the reboot reflects that in its goals. In his words:
I think one of the main things that we're really trying to do is work on overall health and wellness and not just focus so much on how much weight people lose. It's about those off-the-scale victories that I think that the viewers are really going to be inspired by. I head up this support group where both teams get together and we share stories that brought them here in the very first place. What they're looking to change, how difficult it has been. And I think that it not only helps our contestants, but it's really going to inspire the viewers.
Mental wellness is put just as high on the totem pole as physical wellness in The Biggest Loser reboot, and viewers will hear and watch contestants cope with the emotional situations that led to their weight gain. In doing so, the series will hopefully inspire viewers at home to confront any of their own health problems, and possibly search out what the reasons lie behind their behaviors.
The Biggest Loser premieres on USA Tuesday, January 28 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Stay tuned for more of our exclusive coverage for The Biggest Loser, and stick with CinemaBlend for more on television throughout the rest of 2020, and for a look at what's happening in the world of movies as well.