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 >