Bob Harper’s Thoughts on Hosting “The Biggest Loser”

THE BIGGEST LOSER -- Season: 17 -- Pictured: (l-r) Dolvett Quince, Bob Harper, Jennifer Widerstrom -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)
THE BIGGEST LOSER — Season: 17 — Pictured: (l-r) Dolvett Quince, Bob Harper, Jennifer Widerstrom — (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

Bob Harper found being the host of “The Biggest Loser” fun, extremely challenging, and a whole different experience from his work as a trainer. As the new season of the NBC reality series premieres Jan. 4, Harper recently gave a conference call interview about his new role.

When he was approached by NBC executives about being the host, “I was over the moon about it. It shows me in a different light.”

There’s a new logo,  and a new night  — Mondays. And there’s a new gym equipped some of the latest technology.

 

THE BIGGEST LOSER -- "1701" Episode 1701 -- Pictured: (l-r) Lauren Clark, Vicki Clark, Hope Williamson, Colby Wright, Luis Hernandez, Roberto Hernandez, Sarah Gilbert, Robert Kidney, Felicia Bufkin, Whitney Clay, Tonsheia Grandison, Britney Anderson, Erin Grace Willett, Richard Hatch, Jacquelyne Kmet, Stephen Kmet -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)
THE BIGGEST LOSER — “1701” Episode 1701 — Pictured: (l-r) Lauren Clark, Vicki Clark, Hope Williamson, Colby Wright, Luis Hernandez, Roberto Hernandez, Sarah Gilbert, Robert Kidney, Felicia Bufkin, Whitney Clay, Tonsheia Grandison, Britney Anderson, Erin Grace Willett, Richard Hatch, Jacquelyne Kmet, Stephen Kmet — (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

As the host, Harper will be doing more than running weigh-ins and challenges. He wanted to bring in his own personality and the history he’s had in his 17 seasons as a trainer on the show.

“I didn’t want the contestants to just focus on losing weight, but I wanted them to go in deeper. The more information they get, the more they will succeed when they go into the real world.”

He wanted to create an open forum — almost like a rehab center group therapy session — where the contestants talk about the struggles they’ve had.

“It’ very emotional, very eye-opening,” he said. “I wanted to sit with the group and give them a voice. I feel it’s vey cathartic and liberating to get those demons out in the open, it makes the demons not as powerful.”

This season’s theme is “Temptation,” something that everyone can relate to, even fitness guru Bob Harper himself.

“I feel my work schedule can be very busy, very crazy. There are times I could talk myself out of a workout, or I’m tired and I’d like to eat something that not so more healthy, but I have to work to keep myself on track.”

One of the contestants is well known to reality TV fans: Richard Hatch, a winner of “Survivor” and contestant on “The Celebrity Apprentice,” among other shows. He gained a reputation for being shrewd and conniving.

When asked about Hatch, Harper said, “I didn’t know Richard was going to be on the show until all was said and done, because I’m not part of the casting experience. But from Day One, I found him tot be extremely intelligent and deserving to be on our show.”

Harper added that “The Biggest Loser” is very different from “Survivor,” alluding to the alliances, strategizing and game-playing that go on.

“I’m a big “Survivor” fan, and I know very well how that show is. But our show is very different. Most of the time in eliminations, it’s about the people with the lowest percentage of weight loss. Our house doesn’t have a lot of room for game play, where with ‘Survivor’ it’s all about that game. So Richard’s talents with Survivor were kind of a moot point.”

(Actually, those of us who have watched “The Biggest Loser” over the years may recall some of the alliances, broken promises, bickering and back-stabbing among contestants. The name of Conda Britt comes quickly to mind. The past couple of seasons have been more tame, however.)

Hatch will be teamed with Erin Willett, a past contestant on “The Voice.”  The other contestants are teamed with family members.

So what about the trainers, Jen Widerstrom and Dolvett Quince?

“This is second season. She’s tough, she’s hungry, she’s focused, and she comes in with guns blazing. Dolvett is going to really have to step up his game. It’s highly competitive.”

I’ll be sharing more of Bob’s interview in future posts — for instance, can he usually spot who will likely win each season? What is the show doing to help contestants keep the weight off once they go home? And what about Jillian?

My interviews with past Biggest Loser contestants:

Scott Mitchell’s book about his time on the show

Yes, Scott Mitchell is a Mormon http://chewandchat.com/2015/01/biggest-loser-yes-scott-mitchell-mormon.html

Interview with Damien Woody http://chewandchat.com/2014/12/biggest-loser-damien-woody-praises-fellow-contestants.html

Interview with Scott Mitchell and Lori Harrigan-Mack http://chewandchat.com/2015/01/biggest-loser-scott-lori-said.html

Jackson Carter’s surgery to remove excess skin:  http://chewandchat.com/2014/09/biggest-loser-jackson-carter-raising-money-surgery.html

Matt Miller interview: http://chewandchat.com/2014/10/biggest-loser-interview-matt-miller.html

Deni Hill’s Mormon mission in Mongolia

Deni Hill’s weight loss tips.

Sarah Nitta’s weight loss tips.

Justin Pope’s weight loss tips.

Jackson Carter’s weight loss tips.

Jackson Carter’s behind-the-scenes info on what it’s REALLY like at “the ranch.”