When The Biggest Loser returns after four years off the air, it won’t be the same reality competition series fans remember.
During NBCU’s TV Critics Association Winter Press Tour earlier this month, E! News spoke to Bob Harper—who hosts The Biggest Loser‘s upcoming reboot, premiering Tuesday, Jan. 28, on USA Network—about the revamped series, how it departs from its previous format and why. In the red carpet clip above, Harper explains that the newly-conceived program will see less “white noise” than past seasons and focus instead on reviving what he calls the show’s “heartfelt core.”
Describing The Biggest Loser‘s 2020 installment as a “pared-down” version of the original, whose episodes featured regular “temptation” challenges and elimination votes in addition to tracking participants’ transformation journeys, Harper says audiences can expect to hear more from the cast themselves this time around.
“The stories are what really drive this reboot,” he tells E!, noting that the show has done away with both temptation and voting segments since wrapping in 2016. Discussing motivations behind the forthcoming changes, Harper cites “evolving” perspectives within the health and fitness industry as well as a renewed outlook of his own.
Having suffered a heart attack almost three years ago, which he now refers to as a “life-changing event,” the longtime Biggest Loser personality says he learned to relate to contestants’ experiences during recovery. “I was having to change my diet, I was having to change the way I worked out. It was an emotional journey for me,” remembers Harper, who appeared on the show as a trainer prior to transitioning into the host’s role.
“It was everything that I’ve ever gone through with one of my contestants and I was experiencing it,” he continues. “So, I really wanted to bring that onto the reboot of Biggest Loser this season, and that’s what we were able to do.”
The show’s former iteration had been subject to some controversy, with criticisms of its weight loss techniques and brand messaging cropping up periodically over the course of 17 seasons. When asked if he has any concerns about the reboot eliciting similar critiques from viewers, Harper says “absolutely not.” But he does believe The Biggest Loser is inherently susceptible to public debate due to its subject matter.
“I will say this. When you are dealing with weight loss in any way, shape or form, it’s always going to be controversial. People have opinions,” Harper concludes. “I mean, people think that they know everything that there is to know about weight loss. And this business that I’ve been in for many, many years is constantly changing, constantly evolving. So, you know…I think this season is going to be so good.”
Watch The Biggest Loser premiere next Tuesday, Jan. 28, on USA Network.
(E! and USA are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)
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