Are Biggest Loser ratings down because Jillian Michaels left?

Jillian Michaels left The Biggest Loser at the end of its 11th season, and although the show replaced her with two people, both Justin Bieber’s trainer and Anna Kournikova, the show’s ratings are down significantly. Is that just because of her absence?

While ratings went up last week compared to the previous week, the last episode in October had season-low ratings, with a 1.9 among 18 to 49-year-olds and just 5.45 million viewers. In a piece about NBC’s ongoing woes, The New York Times reported that “The Office,’ the drama ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ and the reality show ‘The Biggest Loser’ are all down significantly this season. Not coincidentally, important cast members have left all three shows.”

Jillian agrees that it’s because she left, although she mitigates the arrogance of that by saying the same would have happened if Bob Harper left. “I know if Bob had left and I’d stayed, the ratings would bomb in the same way,” she said. Jillian is also upset that the show didn’t give her a proper send-off. “Since I left Biggest Loser, I have honestly not heard the end of it about how much people miss seeing us together. There was a moment in the Season 11 finale where he said, ‘I love her more than anything,’ and I did the same. But they cut it from the show, so it was pretty uneventful.”

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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.