Friday, March 23, 2012

Let's Move!: Michelle Obama To Appear On NBC's "The Biggest Loser"

The weightloss show films for the second time at the White House: "The Biggest Makeover Episode Yet"...
UPDATE: CLICK HERE for the latest on the show at the White House
First Lady Michelle Obama was happy to beat celebs Jimmy Fallon and Ellen DeGeneres in fitness challenges on national TV, but will she be so gleeful about trumping the regular (but supersized) folks who compete on The Biggest Loser? America will find out on April 3rd and April 10th, when Mrs. Obama brings the Let's Move! campaign to the airwaves with a star turn on not one but TWO episodes of NBC's weightloss competition show. The cast, including hosts Bob Harper and Dolvett Quince, visited the White House to film on Feb. 16th. In the photo above, they perform a workout with Mrs. Obama in the East Room. (Dolcett is in red at left; Harper stands in the background) Update: This photo has now been scrubbed by the WH; see note at bottom of post

The two-parter is billed as "The Biggest Makeover Episode Yet." Mrs. Obama first appears onscreen in a special video and invites the six contestants to the White House. They then get makeovers from celeb fashionista Jeannie Mai, who helps "find stylish new clothes to flatter their slimmer selves," while celeb hairstylist Ken Paves "crafts stylish new looks."

In part two, the Losers have "heartwarming, emotional reunions" with their own families before meeting the First Lady in person at the White House. "The First Lady talks to the contestants about how adult behavior impacts kid behavior, congratulates the contestants on being good examples of health and fitness, and visits with each player and their family members," according to NBC. Then they hit the East Room for what the show bills as the "first ever White House workout."

Mrs. Obama also challenges the contestants with a competition to get more Americans healthy and active. There's more workout action, minus Mrs. Obama, in the Nation's Capitol before a contestant is kicked off the show.

The Biggest Loser seems a peculiar choice for a First Lady who has spent a lot of time promoting "balance and moderation" and encouraging Americans to make "small changes," because the show advocates extreme weightloss over a short period of time and the kind of workouts that would flatten an Olympian. But it's the second time the White House has welcomed the show to film at the mansion. Just days before the February visit, host Harper joined Mrs. Obama in Des Moines, Iowa to kick off the second anniversary celebration for Let's Move!.

The first White House visit...
Waaaay back in November of 2009, before Mrs. Obama launched Let's Move!, Loser cast members, including Harper, co-hosts Allison Sweeney and co-host Jillian Michaels (now departed), visited the White House and plucked vegetables from the Kitchen Garden. The First Lady did not appear onscreen; instead, the contestants "cooked" The Biggest Loser Salad in the kitchen with Executive Chef Cris Comerford and Assistant Chef Sam Kass. (Above: Kass is center; Harper kneels beside Michaels, and Sweeney is in yellow)

Since moving into the White House, Mrs. Obama has joined Jay Leno, Rachael Ray, Oprah Winfrey, Cory Condry, and David Letterman on their shows, and appeared on iCarly, Extrwme Makeover: Home Edition, The Nate Berkus Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, multiple Barbara Walters specials, HGTV Christmas specials, BET Honors, The Kennedy Center Honors, the PBS series In Performance At The White House, to name just some of her TV outings. She's also done plenty of network and cable newscasts and feature segments.

The show airs on Tuesdays at 8:00/7:00 Central. Check your local listings.

*Top photo by Sonya N. Hebert/White House; second courtesy of NBC.

UPDATE note on photo:
When this blogpost was written, neither the White House nor NBC had yet announced Mrs. Obama's appearance on the show. The photo at top of Mrs. Obama and the cast appeared on the White House Flickr as part of a set for February, posted on March 21, and then was removed by March 23. Mrs. Obama's Director of Communications did not respond to a query about why.