Posts tagged The Biggest loser
Wow, it’s all kicking off down at The Biggest Loser ranch today – and not just in front of the cameras. This time it’s not Jillian’s shouting or a near comatose contestant making headlines – but an ugly behind the scenes dispute that is causing a whole lot of controversy.
In case you haven’t heard, large sections of The Biggest Loser crew – many of whom have been with the show for several years – have gone on strike. They’re demanding the right to unionize which will apparently help members accrue health and pension benefits. The crew are allegedly also unhappy that they’ve received virtually no wage increase since Season 6 (the show is now on Season 11) while the show has stayed a profitable franchise for NBC due to its constant product placement (many segments of the show are virtually paid advertisements) and relative ratings stability – at least for NBC.
Meanwhile the show’s producers – 3 Ball and Reveille – allege crew members are paid above scale for the show and that the series recent declining ratings mean there simply isn’t any more money to go around, especially in these tough economic times. For the full details you should jump over to More >
So recently I took a look at Thintervention, Bravo’s new weight loss show, anchored by lesbian gym owner Jackie Warner.
In typical Bravo fashion it was a very polished and well-produced show – full of upscale contestants with strong personalities, tightly edited and with some nice touches (I liked how Jackie would literally turn up on contestants’ doorsteps at just the worst moments)
But as much as I liked the show I can’t help but shake the feeling that weight loss as a whole is a really played out genre on TV today. And it seems I’m not alone. Lifetime’s Diet Tribe and Oxygen’s Dance Your Ass Off both collapsed in the ratings from series 1 to 2, Losing It With Jillian could only scrape together 3-4 million an episode in its summer slot on NBC, and over on Vh1, Money Hungry has the dubious distinction of being one of the lowest rated shows of the year – just 225,000 viewers tuned in for the show’s last installment!
Summer is almost over so it’s time to put away those BBQ sets and beach towels for another year. But before we settle down for the Fall TV Season – here’s 15 Lessons We Learned From Summer 2010…
Networks Execs take note!
1) Scripted Network Dramas Are Dead: Witness NBC’s Persons Unknown (aka Persons Unwatched), ABC’s Happy Town and the Sunday night snoozers The Gates and Scoundrels. All four struggled to attract more than 3 million viewers a week and barely made it through their runs. And the only real scripted ‘hit’ of the summer, ABC’s Rookie Blue, was a middling 5 million rated cop show.
2) …But Scripted Cable Shows Are Hot: Where to begin – Rizzoli and Isles, Covert Affairs, The Closer, Haven, Melissa and Joey, Hot In Cleveland… this summer audiences switched over to cable big time, a cultural shift that will only continue in years to come… fact is viewers are loyal to shows NOT networks. If you want an audience now you have to work for it!
3) Weight Loss Shows Are On The Way Out: The Biggest Loser is still a hefty hit but too many copycat formats failed this summer… Dance Your Ass Off was down year to year, Vh1’s Money Hungry was an outright bomb More >
It seems like everywhere you look these days big is in!
Dance Your Ass Off is a smash on Oxygen while The Biggest Loser continues to rank as NBC’s most valuable franchise. Over on TLC there’s One Big Happy Family – a docu-soap about an overweight North Carolina family while Style’s Ruby follows an obese woman’s weight loss journey.
On the drama front there’s Drop Dead Diva on Lifetime, following a skinny blonde girl resurrected as a plus size lawyer and now there’s Huge on ABC Family, a series set at a camp for overweight teens. Come the Fall we’ll be seeing Mike and Molly, a CBS comedy about a couple who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. Sure you probably won’t be seeing too many fuller figures on The CW, but elsewhere the message is clear – America’s body shape is changing – in real life, and now on the not-so-small screen.
For many this is a good thing. I recently read an article in Entertainment Weekly in which the National Association For Fat Acceptance applauded the increase of plus size figures on our TV’s. But personally, I’m not so sure it is…
Now first of all let me lay out my stall More >
And so another season of The Biggest Loser comes to a close. Hundreds of pounds have been lost. Personal trainer Jillian has screamed at contestants a few thousand times. There’s been tears, sob stories and millions of excuses. And now the drastically diminished contestants will return to their ordinary lives – and resume their weight loss battle for real.
When I first heard about The Biggest Loser, I honestly thought it was going to be a horrible exercise in exploitation and humiliation. But I actually think the show has a positive message at its heart and is generally a really effective force for good on TV. And from a producing point of view it’s a very well put together show – full of inventive challenges, endless twists and turns and some really clever surprises each season.
For NBC the show is probably their most valuable property currently on air – generating strong ratings (it averages around the 8-9 million mark), good demo numbers, endless product placement opportunities and numerous branded spin off products (the books, the DVD’s, the weight loss products). Plus the show is much cheaper than a scripted drama or comedy series, and takes up a whopping 2 hours of More >