Biggest Loser 9 includes three heaviest people yet, including a 526-pound man

NBC has announced the cast of The Biggest Loser 9, and it includes the heaviest contestant yet.

Michael Ventrella weighs 526 pounds, and takes the title of heaviest contestant ever from season eight’s Shay Sorrells, who weighed 476 pounds at the start of the season. (She lost 172 pounds and has a special incentive to keep losing more.)

Two identical twins from Orlando also beat her record, as James and John Crutchfield weigh 485 and 484 pounds, respectively. Overall, the cast consists of eight parent and (adult) child teams, and three other teams of family members, cousins, brothers, and spouses. The new season debuts Jan. 5.

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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.