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UPDATED: 'Biggest Loser' issues a marathon apology for misleading viewers

Dane It was an inspiring finish to this week's two-part episode of NBC's "The Biggest Loser": Dane, who lost 100 pounds in just eight weeks before being eliminated from the weight-loss competition, is seen running a marathon alongside his fit-and-trim wife and crossing the finish line in what appears to be an eye-popping time of three hours and 53 minutes.

Only it didn't happen. Dane got himself an assist to the finish line courtesy of a field producer. UPDATED: Here's the statement Dane released late Friday:

"I always intended to run the full marathon. At the 17th mile, I knew I would not make it in time to cross the finish line before it closed at 6 hours, so I then received a ride from the field producer, who wanted to show me crossing the finish line. He drove me for three miles, and then I ran the rest of the way. After all the filming was done I went back and finished the last 3 miles later that day with my wife and cousin Blaine. I apologize for stating that I ran the entire marathon before I actually ran the whole 26 miles. I am proud of the feat of just running 26 miles in one day."

Here's the statement issued earlier in the day by Reveille, one of the show's producers:

As the Executive Producers of The Biggest Loser we would like to make an official apology and set the record straight with regards to the claim in last nights episode that Dane completed a marathon in Arizona.

After seeing on various online blogs that this information may be inaccurate we investigated the claim and found that Dane had not indeed completed the marathon unaided. From our internal investigation we learned that Dane ran the first 17 miles before receiving a ride from the field producer for 3 miles before rejoining the race at the 20 mile mark whereupon he completed the race.

We are incredibly proud of Dane for running 23 miles and losing over 130 lbs on his weight loss journey so far and wish him luck as he continues his new healthy lifestyle. We have also taken the necessary action to ensure that there is no future misrepresentations and sincerely apologize for misleading our loyal viewers and it was certainly not our intent but an unwitting mistake.

We hope they will continue to be inspired and motivated by all of our contestants and follow them as they continue to change their lives.

Here's NBC's statement:

In the final segment of last night's episode of “The Biggest Loser,” which updated viewers on the status of an eliminated contestant, the former contestant was shown running a marathon in his home state of Arizona. NBC today learned that the contestant did not, in fact, run the entire marathon as depicted in the segment. Because the segment as aired was contrary to NBC policy, we are working with the program producers to determine how this occurred, and to ensure that corrective action is taken.

Sources close to the production said this is what happened:

Dane was eliminated on Thursday night’s show, kicked off by fellow contestants who believed –— rightly — that he was one of the front-runners to win the $250,000 prize that will be handed out to the person who loses the largest percentage of his or her body weight. As is customary, the epilogue to the elimination is a segment in which the cameras catch up with the contestant today, to see whether the weight loss is continuing at home.

Dane’s epilogue was, seemingly, one of the most inspirational in recent memory when it was announced that he’d been training for and had completed a marathon.

But it turns out that an overeager field producer who was following Dane on race day realized that "The Biggest Loser" contestant would not finish the marathon by the six-hour cutoff time, which in turn meant that the producer would not get the footage of Dane crossing the finish line in personal victory. So the field producer picked Dane up in a vehicle and then dropped him a few miles closer to the finish. While the finish time in the background appeared to be 3:53, it was actually 5:53 — the descrepancy being caused by some bum lightbulbs on the time clock that made the 5 appear to be a 3, the source said.

The source also said Dane was so upset that he accepted the ride and didn't run the full distance that he went back later in the day — with his cousin Blaine, who was also with him on the show — and ran the missing miles so that he could say he did indeed run 26.2 miles.

The source said the fabrication came to NBC's attention after that apparent sub-four-hour finish time — an enviable pace for even an experienced runner — set off alarm bells in many corners, including among other runners in the marathon, and the blogosphere began buzzing about whether such a pace was possible for a big guy like Dane. (Kudos to TVBarn.com, which did a great job of covering the unfolding story with the tart headline, "The Biggest Loser" — or is that "Biggest Liar"? — fabricates account of contestant finishing marathon).

The traditional morning-after conference call with the week's eliminated contestant — in this case, Dane — was abruptly canceled.

NBC has rescheduled the conference call for Monday.

Another source close to "The Biggest Loser" said there was a feeling of sadness because the show "relies on its integrity" in a world where reality programming is often suspect, and this person hoped this didn't overshadow Dane's accomplishments. "Dane is such a nice guy," the source said.

It was unclear what, if anything, will happen to the field producer.

In the meantime, what do you think about this development? Does this hurt the show's credibility?

— Rene Lynch

Photo credit: NBC Universal

 
Comments () | Archives (205)

Oh please! Maybe he didn't finish the marathon, but he did do 23 miles. Someone always looking for something to complain about. I'm proud that he completed 23 miles. Before he lost the weight and got the training that he needed to succeed, Dane probably couldn't finish 1 Mile. I'm sorry that they had to embellish the truth, which should never have happened, but let's look at the bright side. He completed 23 miles, and went back to complete the other 3 miles. That in it's self is accomplishment. The truth is out, so let it go.

To lose 100 pounds in 8 weeks, it can happen. If you have a big person, they have cut back on calories, learn to eat right, and to exercise the way that they are trained. It can happen. Think about it.

I don’t think this situation should hurt the shows reputation at all it was one man who made the decision to cheat not the show and this was a one time occurrence. The Biggest Loser is about helping people lose weight and change their lives. It is not about baby-sitting when the contestants leave the show, blame the people directly involved and stop digging for controversy

Dane has done so much...who cares if he didn't run the whole race in one shot. I'm proud of him. Quit badgering him.

I don’t think this situation should hurt the shows reputation at all it was one man who made the decision to cheat not the show and this was a one time occurrence. The Biggest Loser is about helping people lose weight and change their lives. It is not about baby-sitting when the contestants leave the show, blame the people directly involved and stop digging for controversy

I agree that it would have been just as inspiring to see him cross the finish after the race was closed. I run half marathons and hope to one day achieve a full marathon. My reality is that I may not finish my first one but that is what it is all about...striving for an unattainable goal until you can attain it. However, we need to cut Dane a break. Running 23 miles is still an accomplishment in such a short training period. At 17 miles, your body is under a lot of stress and the NBC guy just added to it by even offering the temptation. It is not going to take Biggest Loser off of programming and ruin its viewer audience. Come on! Someone will get fired and the program will move on...so will Dane. So stop being bad sports about it...and be happy for Dane's 100+ lb loss and 23 mile accomplishment. Next time he will finish in the 6 hours I'm sure.

Please........burnt out bulbs! I was disappointed Dane was let go on the show, but now that he went along with this deceit, I am glad.

He still ran like 17 miles!!! I can barely make it one and I'm the ideal weight for my height. Fair play to him I say, he probably inspired people either way.

Oh please, it's a TV reality show. There is no real in reality when it comes to TV shows. Do people seriously think so...

I think most of you are being ridiculous. I'm not saying it's right but it is an amazing feat and it is an inspirational story. I am also sure that after 17 miles of running you might be able to rationalize things that normally you wouldn't do, like I don't know hopping in a car for a ride. No he shouldn't of taken the ride but at least he had the guts to come forward and admit he didn't finish the marathon. The real person who needs to be scrutinized is the field producer.

cmon people are we ALL so perfect?????? Live and let live

I agree, If Dane would have crossed the finish line the lone runner in the dark I would have shed a tear for him. I have been trying to get to marathon pace for years and was at first so proud of him. Then I actually thought about the time and it soon was apparent that there was NO WAY Dane had actually completed in that time!
Shame on you for giving false hope to others in their battles for weight and fitness!

i think that just it is danes business that he cheated and it efects him and not us...it is sad that he did that but still it was up to him and now he messed up his reputation but what does that have to do with us?

I can't believe all of the whining about this issue. Yes, Dane had a lapse of judgment for what was probably an overeager producer and made a mistake. That mistake came out and they will have to pay the piper so to speak. I don't understand why anyone thinks this affects the credibility of the show or why people seem to want to form a witch hunt for a producer who was apparently trying to do his job and that job is to "Produce Great Television". The cats out of the bag, Dane and the show have been called out. What more do you want? Cancel the show? Sue NBC? The show is inspirational. Dane lost a massive amount of weight and if he really intends to run a marathon then I'm sure he has extended his life expectancy long enough to make that goal a reality.

There are several "Biggest Loser" winners who have gained back a lot of weight since being on the show ... bottom line, some people will be successful at losing weight and keeping it off and some won't. This show is no more a guarantee than any other diet or program. I think it's time for them to do a show on what has happened to former winners and then maybe go off the air entirely.

This is a complete INSULT to everyone who has done the work and finished a marathon! We ALL want to quit and many of us at the back of the pack have had to "beat the bridge" (Marine Corps) or some other time cutoff. If you don't make it, it's honorable to say you tried and will try again. Don't lie about it and put up some crazy ridiculous time for a big guy that's a novice runner. I've finished 3 marathons, and I'm plenty proud that my fastest is 4:59:58. I wanted a time that started with a 4, and I got it! NBC, apology please, and not just on the website, on the SHOW so my husband will quit talking about how Dane's a faster marathoner than I am. Nope, he's just a liar!

Just another sham of a story. Producers of these reality shows are nothing more than paparazzi and they are not to be trusted. NBC should be able to be trusted but this puts a whole new tarnish on them in my opinion. How can you trust them to report the news accurately if slanting it their way will build ratings? The only way to effect change is to change channels and let their ratings sink as low as my trust in them. And NBC is not alone....

It is TV!! Nothing is real- even in reality TV!

Did you notice earlier duing the drop in the mud competition, pink and purple were supposed to be neck-and-neck getting to 100 which purple finally won. When they panned back after the competition, pink was only at 89 so it hadn't even been close.

So just watch it for the entertainment which it is, not "reality."

These shows have little to do with "reality". Another case in point. What I'm wondering is what, if anything, the race officials thought (or did). Getting picked up by a car during the race to get an assist, then cross the finish line. That didnt raise a lot of alarms from both runners and race officials?

I agree with a previous post that he should have toughed it out and finished....in whatever time. That would have been inspirational.

Lastly, I dont buy the story about feeling bad and going back and finishing. Oh, another thing--"a bum lightbulb". Give me a break!!

it seems many of you are missing the point. he went back the SAME day not the next day to run the remaining miles. so those of you who think that walking back and forth to the fridge your whole lives equals the prep and running of a marathon you are way off. I have never run a marathon but do try to get in anywhere from 3 to 5 miles per day, that alone is tough. get off his back 100lbs in 8 weeks is amazing. and its not impossible when you think about the lifestyle on the ranch. no different than a hollywood actor getting into shape for a role, and going from skinny to hulk in 4 to 5 months.

 
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