The new season premiered with a special two-hour episode on Wednesday, Sept. 20.
The season premiere showcased a surprising twist – 36 contestants will leave the ranch to compete at home after going through an initial fitness and nutrition boot camp, leaving 14 to continue on with the competition at the Biggest Loser Ranch. One man and one woman from the 36 state contestants who lose the largest percentage of weight will then rejoin the game at the ranch in a later episode. Each of the 36 contestants will have access to www.thebiggestloserclub.co m, a 24-hour fitness gym, "The Biggest Loser:" The Workout DVD and book while making their lifestyle change at home. The show's medical team will also monitor the contestants on a regular basis.
"This season we decided to hold a 50 state competition because of ?The Biggest Loser' weight loss challenges starting up across the nation in schools, gyms, churches and workplaces. We are thrilled that our show has inspired the nation to make a lifestyle change," said executive producer Ben Silverman.
Among the 50 contestants representing each state is Dru Van Kley, 22, of Vermillion.
Van Kley, now a college student, strove to be the best in high school. She was on the honor roll and very athletic, participating in sports such as soccer, softball, and golf and also earning the MVP title of her school's volleyball team.
During her last year of high school, Van Kley stopped being as active and started to gain weight. But it was in college when the weight really started to get out of control due to a steady diet of junk food and lack of regular exercise.
Despite being a beautiful girl, Van Kley doesn't feel attractive because of her weight. While she was outgoing and social before going to college, now Van Kley will go to great lengths to avoid being around people she knows, even driving out of her way to go to a gas station in a different town. She worries that people are talking about how fat she has become. She wants to get her self-confidence back and be the Dru that she knows is still inside of her.
Viewers can get more information and follow the progress of the state contestants each week on NBC.com.
The first reality series in which everybody "loses," The Biggest Loser, hosted by Caroline Rhea (Sabrina the Teenage Witch), challenges and encourages overweight participants to undergo physical makeovers, without any kind of surgery, in a safe and recommended manner through comprehensive diet and exercise as they compete for a grand prize of $250,000. The series has become a worldwide hit airing in over 65 territories and 20 countries. It has also produced a New York Times best-selling book and a burgeoning online lifestyle club www.thebiggestloserclu b.com.