Tag Archives: “The Biggest Loser”

‘Biggest Loser’ Ali Vincent Back to TV

Ali Vincent

Ali Vincent, a.k.a. “The Biggest Loser’s” first female winner, has been in meetings this week for a potential reality show on which she’d serve as host.  It has to do, she reports, with people at crisis points in life who use training for triathlons and other vigorous athletic competitions to help them surmount their challenges.

“It could be a soldier who’s returning from war after losing a limb or someone reinventing themselves after losing their job,” she says.  “It’s not about weight loss, although there could be people who lose weight in it.”

Whether the new show sells or not, Vincent will be back on the tube come Nov. 24, as part of  NBC’s “Biggest Loser: Where Are They Now” special.  She was thrilled to return again to the show on which she lost 112 pounds — the show that launched her as an author (“Believe It, Be It”) and popular motivational speaker.

Does she still weigh the same as in those ubiquitous “Biggest Loser” promo and product photos in which she’s clad in a pink stretch tank top and black spandex bike pants?

“I weigh 125-130 pounds depending on the day, so it’s not that different in weight,” she tells us, “but I was so much more toned when I won.  I’d been training so much, I was hard core.  I won’t be like that again unless it’s right before I do a triathlon myself.”  Vincent, who has run marathons — including the Boston — says she wants to do an Iron Man triathlon.  ‘It’s on my bucket list, and it’s something I’ll put out there for 2012 if I’m not pregnant.  I have plans for a baby, so we’ll see.”

She also says she’s in love, and that she recently moved from Arizona to Spokane, Washington to be near her sister, a pilates instructor.

“My sister and I are working on different types of workouts — in-flight workouts, workouts you can do while traveling, even during airport layovers.  We’ll do them as podcasts people can download.  That’s in its beginning stages.”

She adds, “I get to be with my niece and nephew which is great. I’m only going to be the cool aunt so long.”

Trainer Bob Harper Annoyed By This Season’s ‘Biggest Loser’ Contestants

Bob Harper NBC photo

Expect lots of clashes ahead on this season of “The Biggest Loser.”  That’s the word from trainer Bob Harper, who complains that unlike past groups, in which weight loss and camaraderie were foremost, the current group of contestants “were very into playing the game.  That, to me – I have no time for it.  It’s unfortunate they worked so hard to get onto the show and then made it about that,” he adds.

This season, in fact, features some changes in structure that bring out the fierceness of the competitors.  Still, says Harper, “I love it when contestants tend to unite.  We’ve definitely had some great contestants in the past, ones who’ve stuck with it, who’ve inspired a lot of people.”

Inspiring people to lose weight and get healthy is the aspect of “Biggest Loser” that means the most to Harper, who’s happy with this season’s Pay it Forward theme in which the show is seeking to get entire communities motivated to get fit.  They also traveled to Southern California’s Camp Pendleton Marine base for an upcoming episode in which the contestants train like Marines, complete with lots of dirt ‘n’ grit.

“The Camp Pendleton part was really fun.  The only thing is, what Jillian and I really saw is that the Marines are about building up your character — not necessarily getting you to lose weight,” he says, referring to fellow trainer Jillian Michaels.  “I think the two things do go hand in hand, but you have to know how to do it.”

The drill instructors and trainers do have some things in common, however.  “You get people to push their bodies to different kinds of limits, to get uncomfortable, to do things they wouldn’t normally do.”

The 10th season of the popular reality show got off to a slower start, ratings-wise than seasons past.  Is trainer Bob concerned about running out of steam?

“I keep it out of my mind,” he says.  “We’re starting to shoot Season 11 right now, and we’re on a good upward trend, and I just really feel good for all of us.”

Hank Azaria Happy New Dad, Talks ‘Love and Other Drugs’

Hank Azaria UPI Photo John Hayes

Hank Azaria UPI Photo John Hayes

Hank Azaria’s girlfriend Katie Wright and their four-month-old baby Hal just joined him on Pittsburgh location of “Love and Other Drugs” – which couldn’t please the actor and funnyman more. 

Although his son was born prematurely, “He’s fine — a big, 10-pound baby now.  He’s very calm, very easily soothed, very mellow so far.  It is fun to have the little guy around.  He’s just starting to recognize us,” reports Azaria. 

Asked about what kind of role he’d most like to play next, the besotted new dad answers, “To be honest, I’m pretty happy to hang around and just stare at the baby for awhile.” 

MEANWHILE:  Right now, Azaria’s attention is also on “Love and Other Drugs.”  In fact, he tells us that with the health care debate raging on, he and Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal and the rest of the “Love and Other Drugs” team keep saying to each other, “We wish this movie was coming out next week.  It just has so much to say about the effect big pharma has really had on the medical profession and the health care world.  It’s greater than people think,” Hank declares.  “This really goes into what that system has created and how it works in a day-to-day way.”

As it is, the comedic drama/romance has weeks of production left to go.  Azaria is playing “a doctor of questionable ethics, who engages in some things dealing with pharmaceutical companies that you wish your doctor wouldn’t do” in the feature.  Drawn from “Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman” by Jamie Reidy, the film’s depiction of “this whole world – the pharmaceutical world – and the Viagra story itself are all true.  The love story between Jake and Anne, that part is fiction,” he says. 

Meanwhile, the four-time Emmy winner has been recording his “The Simpsons” parts long distance as on the “Drugs” shoot goes.  The landmark animated comedy is soon to hit its 20 year milestone, and he’s looking forward to celebrating that.  “I’m sure they’ll be doing some kind of party or something with a lot of balloons.”

MAN ON THE MOVE:  Dividing his time between making and promoting the “Twilight” sequel, “New Moon,” and threequel, “Eclipse,” and his work as Dr. Fitch “Coop” Cooper on “Nurse Jackie” has put, well, nearly inhuman demands on Peter Facinelli, a.k.a. head vampire Carlyle Cullen, over the past several months. 

“Sometimes I’ve gone without sleep for like 36 hours.  It’s tedious, but we worked it all out and it’s been doable, with some flying back and forth,” says Facinelli.  “It’s exciting. I mean, I love to do what I do. I love to work.  Sometimes it’s nice to have a break in-between, yes, but you do what you need to do.”

He did two weeks of rehearsal and a week of fight training for “Eclipse,” then went into filming the movie with plans to dive directly into new season shooting on “Nurse Jackie.”  As far as his schedule, “It was great. Both sides kind of worked it out before the boards were done on both shows.  The trick is to go in early to talk about your schedule, before the boards are done.  So it’s give and take,” he says.

 Fight training came pretty easily to him.  “I’m pretty athletic.  I did that show ‘Fast Lane’ for awhile and I did 90 per cent of my own stunts, just because I like doing them.  If I don’t go home bruised, I don’t feel like I put in a good day’s work.”

The actor, also known as Jennie Garth’s hubby, certainly couldn’t be playing characters who are much farther apart.  “Someone sent me a picture of Carlyle Cullen next to a picture of Coop and they were so vastly different it made me laugh.  Sometimes I look at pictures of Carlyle and say ‘I don’t look anything like that.’  I’ve always tried to do different things.  When people ask me what I want to do next, I always say ‘Anything I haven’t done before.’”

NOT FOR KIDS:  The no-holds-barred conversation Denise Richards had with Howard Stern on his radio show last June – in which she discussed her boob jobs, types of sex she enjoyed, and ex Charlie Sheen – was so scintillating to Stern fans that the actress-reality star-Playboy pictorial subject has been dubbed a top guest of all time.  “I was very surprised by the response,” she tells us, making it clear she has no regrets.  “I would definitely do Howard Stern’s show again. You have to know what you’re getting into, and I did.  That’s why I’d never done his show before.  My publicist was saying, ‘I don’t think there’s anything you haven’t been asked at this point,’ so I decided to do it and have fun with it, and I was very honest with him,” she recounts.  “Obviously, as soon as I got done, I called my dad back in L.A. and said, ‘Do not listen to Howard Stern,’ and, you know, if you see any quotes on the internet, don’t read them.”  Obviously.

THE BIGGEST SOFTIE:  Hard-driving though “The Biggest Loser” trainer Bob Harper may be, he’s also known to hold a competitor’s hand and have a cry in an emotional moment.  He bonds with his followers and has “established lasting friendships.  I’m a touchstone for them.  If they need me for anything, they reach out.  With all the social networking possibilities these days, I definitely hear from them – ‘Bob, I’ve hit a plateau.’  You have to trust the process to stay on course.”

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

‘Fame’s’ Debbie Allen: We’re in a War to Save Arts Education

Debbie Allen is hoping that the new “Fame” feature that opens Friday (9/25) will do more than entertain – it will serve as a reminder of the importance of arts education at a time when “the money dries up right and left.

Debbie Allen

Debbie Allen

“We have a war going on,” declares the dance great.  “Where is the money for the arts?  There is no money, but the arts should be one of the last things to be cut.  We need the arts to initiate, to create, to have a voice.  The performing arts are one of the best ways to connect people.  It’s character education.”

 Allen is in the new “Fame” – making her the only performer to appear in the hit 1980 film, its spin-off TV series, and the new movie.  Her character may be named Principal Simms, but to Debbie, she’s playing the same fiercely dedicated teacher she’s played all along.  “After all this time, I am the same character.  Lydia Grant is married – this is her married name,” she says with a laugh. “That’s how the world is going to know her.  I’ve never left it.” 

 Indeed, she carried Lydia Grant into her own life, founding her immensely successful Debbie Allen Dance Academy that’s already seen students hitting the big time, including her daughter, Vivian Nixon, of Broadway’s “Hot Feet” — and “So You Think You Can Dance” contestant William Wingfield.  She’s had other dancers and choreographers land work on stage and screen – including “Fame.”

 “A few of my students are in it.  One of my right hands – Marguerite Derricks – choreographed it.  When I saw it, I just beamed and gushed about how wonderful her work is,” she recounts.

 Debbie herself recently choreographed and directed Mariah Carey’s big new Las Vegas show.  Now, besides her ongoing activities presiding over the school, she is getting ready to direct the London production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” that she directed on Broadway last year – starring her sister Phylicia Rashad and Sanaa Lathan.    

 SO GOOD IT’S BAD:  “I appreciate that people are taking better care of themselves, but I’m like your dirty secret,” says Blythe Beck, who is starring in her own Oxygen reality series “The Naughty Kitchen With Chef Blythe Beck,” debuting today (9/22).

 “I am the naughty chef.  I call my food sexy new American – food you ate growing up but I make it naughty.  I’m all about beer, butter, pork fat, and loving on your food.  The more love you give to it, the naughtier it is,” claims the sassy chef, who runs the Dallas restaurant Central 214.  “You wouldn’t eat this food every single day, but you come to me when you want to celebrate the good times or be comforted in the bad times.  I just want people to come in my restaurant and let me love on them for a little while.” 

Despite so many cooking shows on television at the moment, Beck claims her show is different.  “My show is not just about cooking.  It’s more of following me around as a chef.  My life alone has been like a television show with the ups and downs of working in this field, and now it actually is one,” she adds with a laugh.  “I’m just blessed that cooking is the gift God gave me.  It’s the best gift ever.” 

Adam Hicks

Adam Hicks

YOUNG STAR ON THE RISE:  Adam Hicks, Luther Waffles to fans of  “Zeke & Luther,”  is resting up a bit between his and fellow star Hutch Dano’s just-finished promotional sweep of Europe and the start of second season production of their popular Disney XD show.

 “It was amazing!  Everything was a new experience.  Hutch and I are open to all these new things all the time.  I had a blast,” he says.  “I got to see the Eiffel Tower; I’d always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower.  I loved Germany…”  And he got recognized in Paris, he reports.

 Did he and Hutch ever get on each other’s nerves?  “We never really did.  We have a good relationship.  We balance each other out,” he says.  “We’re constantly working together, so that’s great.”

 Hicks, who starred in the big screen “How to Eat Fried Worms” and has a sizeable list of TV and movie credits,  recalls feeling “a different vibe” about “Zeke and Luther” than anything he’d done previously.  “It was more fast-paced, fast cut — a lot of outrageous comedy with us skateboarding down the streets and stuff like that.  I wondered if people would be open to this new flavor of comedy.”

 They were.  Now the amiable red-haired 17-year-old is getting used to being asked questions about what makes a good kiss and such by the teen magazines.  He seems to be taking it all in stride.  “I’m open to answering a lot of the questions.  I’ll give you my best advice,” he says.

FEELING GOOD:  “The Biggest Loser” host Alison Sweeney admits to pangs of jealousy over her husband’s ability to eat just about anything without putting on weight.  “He’s so thin,” she says of her mate, California Highway Patrolman David Sanov.  But it’s not as if he gets a free ride as far as staying in shape, she points out.  “He works out.  It’s interesting.  You learn it’s not just about how many pounds you see on the scale — it’s about what’s going on on the inside, too.  So it’s about what you put into your body and maintaining your health and fitness.” 

 With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

Bob Harper Disavows Questionable Run

bob-harperLots of “Biggest Loser” fans felt things went too far on this week’s premiere episode – when contestants Mo DeWalt and Tracey Yukich wound up hospitalized after a surprise challenge that called for a mile run by the newcomers, some of whom weighed in at more than 400 lbs.  Yukich, in fact, was still in the hospital as the episode concluded.

But when Bob Harper is asked if he and fellow “Biggest Loser” trainer Jillian Michaels worry about pushing the “losers” too hard, he’s quick to make it clear, “No, because we know what we’re doing.  When that happened, when that girl was sent to the hospital, we’d never met her.  She should not have run the way she did.” 

He notes that when Yukich did make it back to the “Biggest Loser” ranch, “We had to take it real easy with her.”

Is he concerned that the incident will reflect badly on him?

“I don’t think it really reflects on my training,” he replies.  “My style and technique through eight years have been established.”

Indeed.  The fitness master, who debuts as a regular contributor on the syndicated “Dr. Oz” show today (9/18), is known as much for his tenderhearted, sometimes teary-eyed ways as his tough workouts. 

He also put his all into the October-release “Biggest Loser” game for Nintendo Wii and DS, he lets us know.  It allows users to experience their own versions of life at the “Biggest Loser” ranch, complete with food journals, calorie-burning logs, recipes, challenges – and, of course, workouts.  “I was part of putting all the workouts together,” says Harper, who also tested the finished product.  He stresses that he wanted to be sure to give users a full-body regimen, with everything from core and upper body strengthening exercises to yoga.  The only drawback:  “I’m taller and thinner than my avatar,” he dead-pans.

MOVING RIGHT ALONG:  Ernest Bognine has been a perpetual motion man in recent months, with film commitments, book signings for his autobiography, and last weekend’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards – where he lost out to Michael J. Fox for Guest Actor in a Drama honors.  Now, “I may stay with my wife in Pennsylvania for awhile.  She bought a place there because it’s so close to her work,” he tells us, referring to wife Tova’s Beauty By Tova cosmetics line that’s featured on West Chester, PA-based QVC.  Ernie notes that Tova is also often on the go for her business – “to England, to Dusseldorf, Germany, to Italy…If she goes to Italy, I go along,” laughs the man born Ermes Effron Borgnino 92 years ago to an Italian countess who emigrated from Modena.

He happily adds that he and Tova “thank our lucky stars because after all this time and everything that’s happened, we love each other all the more every day.  This marriage has lasted close to 38 years now.  And to think, people gave us an hour and a half when we got married.”

THE HEARTTHROB BEAT:  “Melrose Place’s” Colin Egglesfield, who’s had the tough duty of romancing Laura Leighton and Ashlee Simpson on the show, doesn’t mind putting it right out there:  “I’m really living my dream right now.  It’s really awesome.  My family back home – they are just so excited.  When I booked the job, you probably could have heard my mom and sister screaming from Chicago,” he says.  “I’ve had text messages from friends – ‘I saw you on the side of a bus!’”  He’s trying to exercise caution in these heady times, however.  “The tricky part right now is, you want to enjoy what you have – but you still have a job to do and you want to do the best job possible.  Without that, none of the rest matters.”  His family members, he adds, “keep me grounded, for sure.”

INSIDE INSIGHT:  Veteran actor Rocky Carroll, remembered by many from the TV series “Roc,” is now a two-series regular, working both “NCIS” and its spin-off, “NCIS: Los Angeles.”  He tells us he feels blessed to still be working regularly in a business that is known for having no rules.  “I’ve been doing this professionally now for over 20 years.  The key for actors whose careers last more than a few years, part of it has to do with luck, but a huge part of it is I still love what I do,” says Carroll, who plays Director Leon Vance in the CBS drama. 

“There are actors in town who get a taste of success and your whole view of the town starts to sour and it shows in your demeanor and your work.  You go to an audition and everyone sees you have a chip on your shoulder because you feel like your career should be further.  You have to understand it’s simply a business,” he notes.  “Things are cyclical.  There’s no rhyme or reason why seven movies are made about the same topic.  I think the real artists are the ones who roll with the punches.  This is a business where paupers can become kings.  You’ll read a story of a guy who worked in the mailroom and now has a three-picture deal.  That is the norm in our business.  That doesn’t necessarily happen at somewhere like IBM.  That’s why busloads of people come to Los Angeles every day.”  

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster