Popular weight-loss reality show The Biggest Loser is returning Tuesday, January 28 for the show’s 18th season. It hasn’t been on the air since 2016, however, and this revamped version will look a bit different. The basic format is still the same, though, so if you’re wondering how long the experience lasts for the contestants who are vying for the $250,000, here’s what a representative for the show told us.
The Entire Thing Lasts Approximately Four Months
A rep from the USA Network tells us that the season 18 contestants were at the Biggest Loser ranch for 11 weeks during filming, though that amount of time may vary slightly by season based on how many contestants there are total. Each week or so, one contestant is sent home and for the revamped version, it is no longer based on voting. This time around, the person who is eliminated is simply the person who has lost the lowest percentage of his or her body weight.
Also this time around, there is a better support system in place for the contestants’ after-care when they are eliminated because they are all still competing for the at-home prize — that is, the prize for which contestant loses the highest percentage of body weight after he or she is eliminated.
The contestants all come together for the big finale, which, according to the USA rep, is held after a five-week hiatus from when the contestants are finished with their time at the Biggest Loser ranch. So from start to finish, the show takes about 16 weeks to film, though again — that may vary depending on how many total contestants there are.
That’s a Lot of Weight to Lose in a Short Amount of Time
The Biggest Loser has been criticized for the drastic weight loss its contestants experience in such a short amount of time. So for season 18, they have implemented a few changes.
First off, the contestants will be receiving regular blood work panels to check other markers for overall health, like cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, etc. Secondly, there will be more after-care in place: a gym membership, a nutritionist, and a support group, all set up for the contestants free of charge for when they are eliminated from the show.
“What is really exciting for me being a part of the show, this new reboot and new season, is that we’re trying to approach it from every level,” host Bob Harper recently told the 2020 Television Critics Association winter press tour. “We want to give them everything that they can use to succeed.”
Executive producer Heather Olander adds, “We want to make sure they’re losing the weight but also they’re in the healthiest environment they can be, so though not shown on the series, behind the scenes we did have a nutritionist who provided individualized meal plans for each of the contestants. We had two doctors on set and a set of trainers that vetted the nutrition plans, but the trainers also vetted all of the challenges and the workouts that they did, and they were constantly monitored to make sure that all of their vitals were where they needed to be and they were losing weight at a healthy rate.”
The Biggest Loser season 18 airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on USA.