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Biggest Loser Verges on Exploitation

Experts weigh in on whether reality show has gone too far
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2009 12:57 PM CST
Biggest Loser Verges on Exploitation
Shay Sorrells was the heaviest "Biggest Loser" contestant at 476 pounds. But she'll lose that title next season.   (NBC)

(Newser) The Biggest Loser is getting bigger each year: Next season, 526-pound Michael Ventrella will be the show’s largest contestant ever. Though wanting to help people shed pounds is a good thing, the show seems exploitative when it uses “heaviest ever” to promote itself. PopEater rounds up media experts’ thoughts.

  • Matthew Greenberg, True/Slant: “Of course NBC and Biggest Loser are exploiting the contestants. All reality programming is, at some level, based on exploitation.”

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  • Alex Blagg, Celebuzz: “This is America, so bigger is always better. Why would I want to watch a 500-pound morbidly obese woman run on a treadmill towards her body image goals when I could be watching a 600-pound morbidly obese person do the same thing?”
  • Emma Rosenblum, New York: “On the one hand, it's great that people like Shay and Daniel are getting the kind of weight loss kick-start they need in order to live longer, healthier lives. But it's clear that the show is using them to up the dramatic (and visual) ante.”
For more opinions, click here.
(Read more The Biggest Loser stories.)

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