Biggest Loser scale is fake; contestants are weighed before the weight-in ceremony

Every week on The Biggest Loser, contestants weigh in on a big magic scale. The scale isn’t very nice, as it taunts the contestant before delivering the actual weight. Does she weight 190? 175? 210? 140? Does he weight 350? 325? 290? 305?

A reader of the MSNBC Ask the Reality TV Experts column that I co-write asked about the fairness of the men and women weighting in while wearing different clothes, and that prompted me to investigate the scale.

As it turns out, the scale a prop scale that is made for television. The show’s executive producer, Dave Broome, confirmed that it is just for show. What is entirely real, however, are the contestants reactions. Although they weigh in before the ceremony, they learn their latest weight for the first time while standing on the big scale.

Secrets of ‘The Biggest Loser’ scale [MSNBC]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

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.