“The Biggest Loser” is launching its new season with a cast full of former athletes trying to recapture their past fitness. That’s not the only twist Season 16 will bring.
Long-time trainer Bob Harper won’t be at the ranch in the first part of the season. Instead, he’ll set up camp at something the show is calling “Comeback Canyon,” which gives eliminated contestants a second chance to return to the game.
Zap2it was one of a handful of outlets to speak with Harper in late June as the contestants were just beginning their time on “The Biggest Loser” — without any knowledge Harper would be part of the show. In fact, reporters were escorted to the show’s production offices to speak briefly with Harper so none of the competitors would see him.
A number of competition shows, from “Survivor” to “Top Chef,” have incorporated some sort of second-chance play. It seems like a particularly good fit for “The Biggest Loser,” though, since it gives contestants a chance to continue their weight-loss goals with the support of Harper and rest of the show’s team.
“I’ve been on the show from the beginning, and one of the worst parts of the whole show is when they go home, especially in the beginning, because it’s almost like they didn’t get a chance,” Harper says. “I think [Comeback Canyon] is going to come across as such a great and positive thing, and they’re gonna have that moment of, ‘Wow, I needed this second chance and now I’m really getting it.’ … It’s going to be really cool, I think.”
Two people will go to Comeback Canyon — it’s in an “undisclosed location” away from the show’s home base — at first, Harper says. They’ll spend a week training with him, then have a weigh-in. The survivor of the weigh-in remains to take on the next eliminated contestant, and later in the season, the Comeback Canyon winner will rejoin the main competition.
“They’ll come back in and say, ‘Hey! You thought I was gone but I’m not,'” Harper says.
Harper says he’s also looking forward to seeing how the ex-athletes, who range from high school stars to a former Super Bowl champion and a pair of Olympic medalists, respond to the rigors of “Biggest Loser” training.
“I think this is going to be the most competitive group,” he says. “You look back at ex-athletes that have been on the show, and they’re the ones who are so committed to the process. It’s going to be a wild ride.”
“The Biggest Loser” premieres at 8 p.m. ET/PT Thursday, Sept. 11 on NBC.