Hollywood weighs in on fat people

Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:22am EDT
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By Allison Hope Weiner

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Forget about all those scary-skinny stars -- fat is making a comeback in Hollywood.

Like ABC's "The Bachelor," which spawned a spate of reality dating shows, NBC's "The Biggest Loser" has hatched a ton of weight-loss look-alikes. There's "Celebrity Fit Club" on VH1, "Too Fat for Fifteen: Fighting Back" on Style, "Obese" and "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" on ABC and "Thintervention" on Bravo. All feature contestants sweating, whining, quitting and reflecting.

And in a nod to "The Honeymooners," "Roseanne" and more recently "The King of Queens," the new TV season brings us "Mike & Molly," a Chuck Lorre sitcom on CBS that features plus-size stars Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell as regular (read overweight) people who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.

"Nobody cannibalizes better than Hollywood," said J.D. Roth, co-creator of "Biggest Loser" who also produces "Obese" and is prepping "What's Eating You" for E! "As soon as something is working, there has to be 40 of them immediately. More is better."

"Thintervention," a recent entry into the weight-loss sweepstakes, garnered a respectable 1.2 million viewers in its premiere Monday. The show stars Jackie Warner, the high-powered fitness trainer from another Bravo show, "Workout." Like "Biggest Loser," "Thintervention" follows real folks who work out with Warner and attempt to lose 25-100 pounds.

"I think all these weight-loss shows are great," Warner said. "I love (Oxygen's) 'Dance Your Ass Off.' Those people have such joy in what they're doing. I think America has to have the information. I can't believe how confused America is about weight loss."

Dave Ehlers, managing director of branded-entertainment outfit ZenithOptimedia, said all the weight-loss shows provide "excellent vehicles" for advertisers targeting individuals who seek a healthier lifestyle.

Roth said "Biggest Loser" proved a hard sell at first.   Continued...

<p>Guests work out before dawn at the Biggest Loser Resort in Ivins, Utah September 6, 2010. REUTERS/Rick Wilking</p>