Ryan Benson is The Biggest Loser; Shawn Nelson wins The Rebel Billionaire.

Ryan Benson is The Biggest Loser; Shawn Nelson wins The Rebel Billionaire.
At the conclusion of NBC’s The Biggest Loser, Ryan Benson walked away with $250,000 after losing 120 pounds. His weight loss alone didn’t give him the win; instead, it was because of a number that included the percentage of weight lost. “Benson lost 37 percent of his weight and 18 percent of his body fat, for a winning total of 55,” according to the New York Post’s recap. (Check out his before and after photos.) The other two finalists also did well: Coming in second was “Gary Deckman, 40, of Brooklyn, who lost 71 pounds from a starting weight of 227. He weighed in last night at 156. And the sole female finalist–Kelly Minner, 28, of Coopersburg, Pa.–weighed in at 163 last night, down 79 pounds from 242.”

Over on FOX, Shawn won The Rebel Billionaire, but not before Richard Branson tested him one more time. Richard had each of the finalists select one of the other cast members to be their advocate, and then told the two selected cast members, Gabe and Heather, that they were going to choose the winner. However, they couldn’t decide, so Richard selected Shawn. He then gave Shawn $1 million, and the option to “either take the money or take a risk on something else by flipping a coin. Shawn is at a loss, so he consults with Gabriel and Sara. Because of his company, Shawn takes the million. Richard is pleased, because he would have lost respect for Shawn had he risked his own business’ future on a coin.” FOX’s recap said that Richard then “offers Shawn the presidency of the Virgin Group worldwide for the next three months. He will share Richard’s job.” So, in other words, the “biggest prize in reality TV history” lasts just three months and is a co-presidency. However, Shawn will get to be “president of one of Virgin’s smaller companies” after his three-month stint. Runner-up Sara didn’t leave a loser; as the recap says, “Since her dream was to run a charity for women’s issues, Richard gives her $750,000 to begin such an organization.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.