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Reality TV Continues Its Fascination With Obesity

  • Variety, Monday, July 27, 2009 9:26 AM

The nation's obesity epidemic is now playing out in prime time. Unscripted series featuring overweight folks are popping up all over broadcast and cable, with even more to come. Next week, Fox launches "More to Love," a dating show that features zaftig contestants. That joins shows such as Oxygen's "Dance Your Ass Off," and the granddaddy of the trend, NBC's "The Biggest Loser."

Next up, TLC will air "One Big Happy Family," which follows a North Carolina brood in which all four members weigh in at more than 300 pounds. "Society is looking at the issue [of obesity] in a different way now, and cable reflects that. We're putting a human face to what had been, before, a punchline," says Rita Mullin, TLC development vp.

The nets have also discovered that big weight equals big business. "The Biggest Loser" has spawned an entire franchise of books, CDs and weight-loss plans. Marketers have also been quick to sign on: Plus-size retailer Lane Bryant, for example, is a partner on "More to Love."



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