Since debuting in 2004, NBC’s megahit reality show The Biggest Loser has been one of the biggest winners for the network and its sponsors, raking in a cool $100 million per year in ad sales, and tens of millions of dollars more in ancillary products like cookbooks, clothing, and protein powders. The shows’ popularity is a no-brainer: more than a third of American adults are considered obese; approximately 68% of the population is overweight or obese; and about a third of children ages 6 to 19 are overweight or obese, making for a huge potential audience, both figuratively and literally. Millions of people watch the show for inspiration, commiseration, or just plain schadenfreude.

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