Mike Dariano

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The Biggest Loser's opportunity cost

"Television programing exists soley to get viewers from one commercial break to the next". I don't remember where I heard this but I haven't viewed TV the same, and have taken a more skeptical eye towards shows that 'do good'.

The Biggest Loser (BL) comes to mind but isn't not alone in shows that try to help the - sometimes ironcially - little guy. BL contestants partake in a romantisezed work out program with beautiful trainers, equipment, scenery, food and the egotisical joy of being on TV. If someone looking to remove pounds, get a new start on life, kick an addiction, save money or de-vice their life can't do it in the lab-like cleanliness of TV, then they probably can't do it at all. Look no further than a 435 pound Olympic Gold Medal Winner named Rulon.

It's not that Rulon shouldn't lose weight, his BMI strongly suggests otherwise, it's that it shouldn't be on this pious programming. If BL wanted to help people they woudln't have chosen a college graduate who's won two Olympic medals, based his employment around these success, on a schedule of his choosing and lives without kids. He has or had access to the resources needed to lose weight.

What the BL does though is choose headlines that grab your attention during a 30 second advertisement where you think Wait, I remember that guy from the Olympics, wow, he's the biggest ever! Like a fisherman shows off a record catch after a day at see, network TV has found someone really, really big.

As you sit on the couch watching, eating a bag of chips or bowl of ice-cream remember that the impetus isn't to help; it's to get you to watch that Doritos add coming up.

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