Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Rhea Calls It A Day As Host Of 'Biggest Loser'

Caroline Rhea out, Alison Sweeney in as host of "The Biggest Loser"

After three seasons on the most popular weight loss television show in history, the original host has said she's had enough and wants "to pursue other interests."

Caroline Rhea, who has been the one and only host of NBC's hit reality show "The Biggest Loser" for the past three seasons, has decided to leave the show and continue her career elsewhere.

As a self-described BIG FAN of "The Biggest Loser," I've always wondered about the choice of Carolina Rhea as the host of that show. Why? Well, she ain't exactly skinny herself (that photo at the top of this post was from a few years back when she was thinner) and it seems like such a waste of talent for a comedian to play host of a show with a bunch of fat people on it. I kept waiting for Rhea to bust out with a crude joke at some point, but she was always so stoic (although the "it's time to cut the fat" line she used in the elimination room always made me cringe when I heard it).

But, she's leaving now and may feel the best days of "The Biggest Loser" have already passed. I'm not so sure about that, but she wanted to do other things. I don't think losing her is going to harm the show at all.

What about the replacement for Rhea as host of "The Biggest Loser?" Who's it gonna be? According to this St. Louis Today column, the answer to that question is daytime soap opera star Alison Sweeney. This 30-year old beauty has played Sami Brady on "Days Of Our Lives" since 1993 winning several Soap Opera Digest awards including best supporting actress in 2005. She has also appeared on such NBC prime time show as "Friends," "Las Vegas" and "Fear Factor."

"The Biggest Loser" executive producer Ben Silverman describes Sweeney as "an incredible talent" who he hopes will bring her "huge, loyal fan base" to the show.

Although she doesn't have a weight problem now, Sweeney revealed in her 2004 autobiographical book entitled All The Days Of My Life (So Far) that she has struggled with her weight.

I'm always suspicious of these Hollywood types that claim they understand a weight problem when they've never been more than 10 or 20 pounds overweight their entire life. But I sincerely hope Sweeney does understand the plight of carrying around extra weight and the physical as well as the emotional scars that come with it.

The contestants on "The Biggest Loser" could stand to feel a little empathy from the host of this show. I think Sweeney can bring that where Rhea fell short. However, I do see a challenge that Sweeney will need to somehow put to rest like Jillian Michaels and Kim Lyons have been able to master.

Lose Big with Jillian Michaels

Because she is so beautiful, the guys may feel embarrassed to show their "man boobs" in front of this hottie while the women could be intimidated by her. Again, if she can parlay her history of dealing with being overweight and relax the contestants, then she could be a more effective host than Rhea was with an actual contribution to make.

Brand new episodes of "The Biggest Loser" Season 4 are coming up in a couple of months and are expected to air on NBC in the Fall. Sweeney will continue her role as Sami on "Days Of Our Lives" in addition to her new role as host of "The Biggest Loser."

One more suggestion for NBC: UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE on the past contestants. As the years pass by, people want to know if they have been able to keep the weight off for good. Even if it's just a quick blurb at the end of each show, I think we'd love to know how Ryan Benson, Big Mo, Matt & Suzy, and all the rest are doing in 2007. It's one thing to lose weight on national television for a pile of cash. But it's another to actually keep it off forever. How about it, NBC?!

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Blogger Sparky's Girl said...

I think it'd be great to have the winner of the previous contest host the show the following year. Talk about motivating the contestants! :0)

2/27/2007 6:38 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I agree that would be awesome, Sparky's Girl! The one person that comes to mind is Kelly Minner from Season 2. She'd be AWESOME!

2/27/2007 10:17 PM  
Blogger Jake Silver said...

Hey now, Jimmy! To some folks 10, 20, 30 pounds makes a world of difference! It sure does to me!

2/28/2007 7:58 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Good point, Jake! But when I think about these contestants who have a MAJOR weight problem (at least 50 and up to 250 pounds to lose), how much can Sweeney REALLY relate to them?

The more I think about it, the obvious choice would have been to have one of the good-looking past contestants on the show be the new host. But what do I know? :)

2/28/2007 9:00 AM  
Blogger Hollywood said...

A thought:

This is a show where, aside from Jillian Michaels, everybody on the show is either morbidly obese (contestants) or kind of overweight (Rhea). That's not a lot that folks at home want to look at (other than like a car crash). sorry.

NBC is facing what every other reality show has faced. How do you keep it fresh when your audience has been there and done that?

I like the new host. Who cares about contestant motivation? Either you want the money (and the weight loss) or you don't? Howie Mandel doesn't make people more greedy, Bob Saget doesn't make em smarter (I know, I worked with Bob in 2001/2002), and Rhea didn't make anyone do anything that the money and the goal didn't already have them doing. The new girl just has to read the lines and supply some visual appeal. I think she can handle it (although Soap acting might not be enough for the read the lines).

2/28/2007 11:47 AM  
Blogger Anne said...

Huh, that's interesting. I'm a bit of a closet soap fan and I rather like Alison Sweeney. I haven't read her book (where she evidently discusses it at length) but I'm pretty sure she lost weight using a low-carb approach. Maybe not Atkins strict but I'm pretty sure I saw an interview a while back where she talked about adding protein and exercise and cutting out stuff like breakfast cereal and other empty carbs. I think she could be a great choice, she's done a lot to try and reach out to young women about being healthy and having a positive self image.

3/01/2007 11:00 PM  

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