Biggest Loser 8 cast not friends or family, but has season 7 contestant, biggest person ever

After three seasons of The Biggest Loser casting pairs of people who were friends or relatives, the show is returning to having a cast of strangers–at least before returning to family pairs for season nine.

The Biggest Loser 8‘s 16-person cast has a loosely defined theme of “second chances” because NBC says they are all “eager to get their second chances at a new lease on life.” I’m not quite sure how this differs from the first seven seasons, but NBC tries to make the theme apply to their bios, citing “a firefighter (Allen Smith) whose health and job are at risk because of his weight to a military wife and mother of four (Tracey Yukich) who has always put others first.” One tragic story does fit the theme: Abby Rike “[lost] her husband and two children in a deadly car crash” and “now gets a second chance to restart her life.”

There are also two familiar faces that also work with the second chance theme: The Biggest Loser 7 contestant Daniel Wright, who is appearing on the show in back-to-back seasons, and Amanda Arlauskas, who viewers selected at the end of last season.

Also notable: a 476-pound woman, Shay Sorrells, who is the biggest Biggest Loser ever.

NBC Announced Sixteen New Contestants… [NBC press release]

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.