Biggest Loser has the most product placement, but Bravo’s placements are more effective

The Biggest Loser 6 concludes live tonight on NBC starting at 8 p.m. ET, and this will be the first episode I’ve watched in months. That’s because I bailed on the show, which has become so bloated (with two-hour episodes) that it drags, and between that and the atrocious, obnoxious, offensive product placement, which the trainers aren’t even paid for, I was watching it by fast-forwarding through 95 percent of the show, and why watch something like that?

Yesterday, Nielsen released their list of the broadcast TV shows with the most product placement, and surprise, surprise, The Biggest Loser is number one with 6,248 placements this year. (More appallingly, Nielsen’s data is only from Jan. 1 to Nov. 30–meaning that there are many more product placements not counted.) That’s more than 1,600 more than the number two show, American Idol, which had 4,646 placements during its seventh season.

Overall, all of the reality shows in the top 10 except two are on Fox or NBC (only one scripted show made the top 10).

  1. The Biggest Loser: 6,248
  2. American Idol 7: 4,636
  3. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: 3,371
  4. America’s Toughest Jobs: 2,807
  5. One Tree Hill, 2,575
  6. Deal or No Deal: 2,292
  7. America’s Next Top Model: 2,241
  8. Last Comic Standing: 1,993
  9. Kitchen Nightmares: 1,853
  10. Hell’s Kitchen: 1,807

Interestingly, only one of those shows, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, made Nielsen’s list of the “Top 10 Most Effective Product Placements on Brand Opinion.” CVS’ appearance on the ABC show was number one, and Sears, which provides happiness to destitute families through appliances, was fifth.

But every single other show in the top 10 was on Bravo, like #2 TRESemme and #4 Bluefly.com on Project Runway, and #6 Glad, #7 Whole Foods, and #8 Food & Wine Magazine on Top Chef. Number three was El Pollo Loco on Flipping Out, which was so effective and well-integrated I had no idea it was product placement, I just assumed Jeff Lewis and company had lunch there.

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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.