Tuesday, April 10, 2012

First Lady Michelle Obama On Why She Is A "Huge Fan" Of NBC Show 'The Biggest Loser'

Mrs. Obama explains why the grueling weight-loss contest makes sense in terms of her national campaign to encourage moderation and balance in nutrition and fitness...

First Lady Michelle Obama will appear tonight in the second of a two-part episode of NBC's competition weight loss show The Biggest Loser. In this video interview created to promote the show, Mrs. Obama explains why she is "a huge fan," and how it all relates to her Let's Move! campaign. Mrs. Obama is such a big fan of Loser that celeb trainer and host Bob Harper joined her at Monday's Easter Egg Roll, as did trainer Dolvett Quince. Harper also joined Mrs. Obama in Des Moines, Iowa to kick off the second anniversary celebration for the Let's Move! campaign.

"I am a huge fan of The Biggest Loser," Mrs. Obama says, noting that she has watched almost every season. "I am truly motivated by what this show does to change not just the lives of the contestants but the millions of people who are inspired by their journey."

As last Tuesday's episode ended, the contestants had just met Mrs. Obama at the White House, and spoke on camera of how inspiring she is. Still, the show's preview for tonight promised viewers that by the end of the episode, in which the competitors work out in the East Room with Mrs. Obama, one contestant is going to go on an emotionally driven food binge. Perhaps that was designed to help ratings; the show placed third in its time slot last week.

How Loser fits with Let's Move!...
With Let's Move!, Mrs. Obama has promoted small, reasonable steps that all Americans can take to lead healthier lives, such as reducing portion sizes, swapping fruit and vegetables for processed foods, drinking water instead of soda and sugary beverages, and walking stairs instead of taking an elevator.

But the six Loser contestants who were invited to meet the First Lady at the White House (including two single mothers) were locked away for fourteen weeks on a ranch in Hawaii with no contact with their children, spouses, parents, or partners as they focused on losing weight. They participated in crushing day-long workouts, and ate carefully prepared, low-calorie meals created by professional chefs as they collectively dropped hundreds of pounds, in hot pursuit of a $250,000 grand-prize. Most of the original cast members arrived at the ranch with a loved one as a competition partner, but they were rapidly separated and paired with a stranger.

"The Biggest Loser does an excellent job of just getting people to think about ways large and small that they can work on their bad habits, bring better nutrition into their lives, and find really small but meaningful ways to slowly start getting active," Mrs. Obama says in the video.

She adds:

"Incremental changes can make a huge difference. People don't automatically have to be able to do a Bob or Dolvett training. You can build yourself up to something that's strenuous. So I think The Biggest Loser does an excellent job of shedding light on our challenges..."

In the rest of the video, Mrs. Obama gives the kind of healthy tips that no contestant on the show has apparently ever followed, either before meeting Harper and Quince or after coming under their tutelage.

"Turn on the radio in your home and dance around...take up a sport...it can be something as simple as getting on your bike and riding around the block," Mrs. Obama says.

In conjunction with Mrs. Obama's appearance, NBC will be promoting the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award challenge (PALA), a component of the Let's Move! campaign that encourages adults and children to work out five times a week for six weeks in order to get a certificate from the President.

Not a ratings rocket for NBC...
Despite Mrs. Obama's appearance onscreen last week--and the fact that the program showed teary White House reunions between contestants and their families, shot in the Diplomatic Reception Room in February--Loser was not a ratings rocket for the network. It came in third place for its time slot with 6.27 million viewers, far below CBS's first-place finisher NCIS, which had 11.38 million viewers. Mrs. Obama has appeared on other NBC shows since January, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, both appearances devoted to Let's Move!.

The show previously filmed at the White House 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.