Part of the information glut that everyone talks about when they mention the internet and the 500 channels on TV is all the behind-the-scenes info that is offered up to viewers. I still enjoy TV, but I don't have the same sense of wonder I experienced even as a young adult. The season premiere of Biggest Loser: Families is one example of what I talking about.
The sixth US season of the Biggest Loser franchise premiered tonight, but I watched the sneak peek on Hulu on Sunday. There is an older guy on this season who has numerous health problems besides being overweight. The whole affair was presented as though they didn't know how sick he was before he got there. They even had Jillian sit down with him and his daughter and explain how concerned everyone was but that they weren't going to give up on him. He is staying in the competition but he is under doctor's orders to only exercise 30 minutes a day. This would have been touching . . . except that the Australian version of Biggest Loser (which aired over the winter and I watched on YouTube) had almost the exact same situation.
The way the issue of the restricted contestant was presented on the Aussie version was more up-front; they said they were keeping the guy because they wanted to show Australian viewers that they could lose weight on a more moderate diet and exercise plan. This was believable to me because I have a friend in Australia who says that Biggest Loser is treated with something close to reverence there. Having a contestant on the US version with almost the same profile makes it look like the American producers thought, "Hey, that sick guy got a lot of sympathy down under. We need to find ourselves a sick guy!" I doubt I would have thought any of this if it weren't for the internet giving me the ability to tap into other TV markets and read gossip blogs and such.