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NBC officially announces The Biggest Loser cast, featuring American Idol season 2 winner, Ruben Studdard as the competition weight loss show’s first celebrity player.
“Second Chances” is the theme of the 14th season, which NBC is calling uplifting and fun. Ruben is the heaviest contestant, weighing in at 462 pounds. He’s seeking a second chance at a healthier lifestyle and an opportunity to win a e $250,000. prize.
Here’s what Ruben shared with Today.com about why he joined the cast:
“Because I’m fat as hell!” Studdard joked to TODAY.com. “No, really though, they called and asked me to be a part of the show and I knew it was time for me to change my life. I’m 462 pounds. If anybody needs to be here, I do. “
He added that although his weight has fluctuated over the years, he’s always been big. However, “I don’t think I’ve ever been this big, though,” he said.
After he arrived at the “Biggest Loser” ranch, the man known as the Velvet Teddy Bear learned that he was borderline diabetic.
“What’s crazy is that I actually had a physical in December and I was fine,” he said. “This is why when people ask me what my turning point was why I wanted to lose weight, I say my age. … I have high blood pressure now, and, six months into being 34 I get here and find out I’m borderline diabetic, which means if I keep going, by the time I’m 35, I could probably have Type II diabetes. So this was perfect timing for me.”
The Biggest Loser premieres Tuesday October 8, 9/8c pm on NBC. Read the press release and check out a full cast list below.
NBC’S ‘THE BIGGEST LOSER’ IS BACK OCTOBER 8 WITH 15 INSPIRING CONTESTANTS, INCLUDING SINGER RUBEN STUDDARD, & UPLIFTING ‘SECOND CHANCES’ THEME
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – September 4, 2013 – Fifteen inspiring contestants – including the show’s first celebrity player, Ruben Studdard, an uplifting “Second Chances” theme and fun, new creative elements ignite season 15 of NBC’s popular series “The Biggest Loser,” premiering Tuesday, October 8 (8-9 p.m. ET). Alison Sweeney hosts the series featuring charismatic trainers Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels and Dolvett Quince, who have helped contestants lose over 26,600 pounds collectively during 14 seasons of the motivational show.
On the trainer side, new creative elements are being introduced this season that give Bob, Jillian and Dolvett more powerful roles. For the first time ever in the show’s history, trainers sat in on casting sessions and helped select the new contestants. Also, the trainers will be empowered with a “trainer save” in season 15, allowing each one to save one eliminated contestant from going home. In addition, “The Biggest Loser” will start the season with one-hour telecasts on Tuesdays (8-9 p.m.). There may be selected two-hour telecasts as it moves closer to its Feb. 4 finale.
This season’s inspiring theme of “Second chances” will be seen through the compelling stories of 15 contestants, all on their own unique journeys to reclaim their health and re-write their futures. It has been a decade since Ruben Studdard was crowned the winner of “American Idol” and launched a successful music career. Now he returns to television on a very different stage, hoping to lose weight and learn how to live a healthy lifestyle. Ruben is this season’s heaviest contestant at 462 pounds.
Also featured this season will be David Brown, who lost his first wife to an almost decade-long battle with cancer and is now fighting for his life so he can be there for his daughters, and Tanya Winfield, a single mom addicted to food who grew up with a teenage mom addicted to drugs, who is eager to break the cycle of addiction in her family.
Also competing this season will be Olympic weight lifter Holley Mangold, hoping to get in the best shape possible for a second chance at gold in the 2016 Olympics, Matt Hooper, who postponed his wedding to be on the show so he could give his fiancé the best physical version of himself, Craig Arrington, a 30-year-old father who lost his own dad to a heart attack at age 32, and wants to make sure he will be there longer for his kids; and Rachel Frederickson, who gave up scholarships and a promising career as a nationally ranked swimmer for a relationship that didn’t last, and now wants another chance to create the life she dreams of for herself.
The new contestants competing for the $250,000 grand prize will be:
Fernanda Abarca (3D Animation Artist/Cake Sugar Artist), 32, Montrose, Calif.
Craig Arrington (Warehouse Supervisor for Pharmaceutical Company), 30, Wilson, N.C.
Chelsea Arthurs (Clinical Research Professional/Event Planner), 28, Raleigh, N.C.
David Brown (Project Manager for Construction Company and Social Commerce Leader for Phone Company), 43, Edmond, Okla.
Rachel Frederickson (Voice-over Artist), 24, Los Angeles, Calif.
Hap Holmstead (Sales Consultant/Entrepreneur), 26, Pleasant Grove, Utah
Matt Hooper (Retail Manager), 38, Georgetown, Mass.
Holley Mangold (Olympic Weightlifter/Caterer), 24, Columbus, Ohio
Jennifer Messer (Clerk/Bookkeeper), 42, Abingdon, Va.
Tumi Oguntala (Brand Strategist), 41, Clifton Park, N.Y.
Marie Pearl (Senior Staff Accountant at a Community College), 30, Springfield, Mo.
Bobby Saleem (Attorney), 28, Chicago, Ill.
Jay Sheets (Marketing Associate for a Food Company), 38, Farmington, MO.
Ruben Studdard (Singer), 35, Birmingham, Ala.
Tanya Winfield (Chief Operating Officer of a Restaurant Franchise), 41, Plainfield, Ill.
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