Back and literally bigger than ever, NBC's The Biggest Loser begins an eighth season tonight with host Alison Sweeney and a new cast of determined dieters focused on a second chance. "The show isn't just about relating to weight loss, it’s about overcoming a huge obstacle," says Sweeney, who talked with our Ashley Parker. "So many of the contestants come to camp feeling completely hopeless," she says. "But it's not so much about doing it right the first time, it's about not giving up. I love being their cheerleader."
One of those getting a second chance is 20-year-old Daniel from the previous season. Until now, he was the weight loss show's heaviest player, starting at 454 pounds (he lost 142), but this season's recruits are the largest ever with several players weighing in at 400-plus pounds.
"The contestants are getting younger and younger and more and more obese," says Sweeney. "When we started they show we had a lot of contestants who had been thin at one point in their lives and lost control. It’s a very different experience with a young person who has never been thin or healthy."
Also different this season, each contestant faces his or her weight battle alone. Sweeney thinks that's a positive change.
"Coming alone, you have to open up to people and you have to learn to trust someone you don’t know," she says. "You are forced to examine your life and what brought you here."
Photo courtesy of NBC