Television’s squeezing every ounce of entertainment it can from the nation’s obesity epidemic, though most of us would be better off walking than watching. Here’s how some of the competition sizes up:
NBC’s “THE BIGGEST LOSER.” Dramatic weight loss apparently isn’t dramatic enough for NBC, which has larded “Loser” with gimmicks, from outrageously obvious product placement to an elimination system designed to cause backbiting and recriminations, turning it into a “Survivor” without the scenery. For all the motivational speeches, exercise is too often treated as punishment, not pleasure. Worst of all, though, is the message sent to millions struggling with real-world weight-loss plans when a contestant’s loss of 3 to 5 pounds in a week can be treated as a failure. When: Season 8 premieres Sept. 15.
Fox’s “MORE TO LOVE.” Plus-sized model Emme is scheduled to host this latest twist in the “Bachelor” format, which gives a big guy a choice of a lot of big girls. Here’s a news flash: Fat people have been getting married for hundreds of years without Fox’s help, and lots of them even snag (gasp) skinny spouses. When: 9 p.m. EDT Tuesdays, starting July 28.
Oxygen’s “DANCE YOUR ASS OFF.” “Biggest Loser”-meets-“Dancing with the Stars,” in a competition show hosted by Tony-winning “DWTS” veteran Marissa Jaret Winokur. The dancing’s fun, the public weigh-ins less so, but as in all such shows, a tearful someone always has to go home at the end. Given how many of the contestants are there for their health more than the prize money, there has to be a better way. When: 10 p.m. EDT Mondays.
WEtv’s “I WANT TO SAVE YOUR LIFE.” “Diet Detective” Charles Stuart Platkin is probably the least annoying of the weight-loss know-it-alls, tailoring programs to suit individuals and stressing health over specific weight-loss numbers. But even he can’t resist the occasional TV-friendly object lesson, like making a woman who loves baked goods buy a slice of cake then carry it – for hours – on a walk long enough to burn off the calories it would add, if she were actually allowed to eat it. When: Eight-episode marathon of reruns begins at 1 p.m. July 15.

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