« Previous Post | Show Tracker Home | Next Post »

'Biggest Loser': Jillian Michaels on why she's leaving, Bob Harper on why he's staying, and this season's curveball

Biggest-Loser Jillian Michaels says she's grateful for everything that "The Biggest Loser" has done for her -- but it's time to move on.

"How many times can I scream last chance workout?" she said. "This job is all consuming. It's seven days a week. I want to start a family. It's time."

Michaels talked about her decision to leave earlier this year, when a media day was held at the new Biggest Loser Resort in Malibu, not far from the ranch were the NBC weight-loss show takes place. The media in attendance was barred from discussing the departure until Monday's formal announcement of Season 11. But that didn't stop Michaels from scooping everyone last week, when she tweeted that she was leaving.

"The Biggest Loser" has catapulted Michaels to fame and fortune: In addition to her job on the show, she has launched an online subscription fitness program, supplements, a clothing line, a fitness cruise and more. She's had her own spinoff show this summer, "Losing It," and is the new celebrity spokeswoman for Go Daddy.

"It's been a gift," Michaels said, but it's not enough. "There's still so much more that I need to be doing." She said her goal continues to be casting a spotlight on the country's obesity problem. She just wants to do it in a different way. Some examples: "I want [physical education] back in schools. I want better food in school cafeterias. We need to teach kids that wellness is fun. That's my calling."

Speaking of kids, Michaels plans to adopt, soon, from Africa. She was embroiled in a flap earlier this year when she was quoted as saying she did not want to have children of her own because it would ruin her body. Michaels says she was misquoted: In fact, she said, she struggles with lifelong medical issues that make it unclear whether she can have children of her own. (She said she preferred not to go further into details.)

She said she chose Africa because she visited there recently and immediately felt at one with the people. "I loved being there, I loved the people, I want Africa to be part of my life." Michaels kept mum about matters closer to the heart: She has said she's dated both men and women, but on the press day in late summer, she said she wasn't focusing on her personal life but her future son or daughter.

Michaels, who has been open about how therapy helped her deal with her own emotional issues after her parents' bitter divorce, joked that she's going to do everything she can to be the best mom possible -- but that she'll get a therapist lined up for the new addition just in case.

Bob Harper, meanwhile, isn't going anywhere.

"Bob will be here as long as there is a show," he said during media day. "It continues to be fresh for me." He said he will miss Michaels and understands his sidekick's desire for something new and different. But, he noted, everyone's job can be routine unless you look for the extraordinary. And that's what he does. "Every new group that comes in here consistently inspires me."

He says viewers get to see just a snippet of how obesity has devastated the contestants' lives. But he gets to see the whole thing. "I look in their eyes, and they're dying physically and emotionally. I look into their eyes and they're looking at me for help. They are desperate, they've tried everything. How can that ever get old?"

So, with all this trainer turmoil, what's next?

When the show's new season debuts Jan. 4, 2011, it's back to couples. And the contestants will have a difficult choice to make between the certain and the uncertain: They can choose to stay at the ranch and work out with Bob and Jillian -- and face elimination after the first week's weigh-in. Or, they can depart immediately to work out in a secret location with two unknown trainers. Why would they choose Option B? They will be guaranteed an entire month's worth of training before they return to the ranch and then face elimination.

NBC is keeping mum about the identity of the trainers -- a dramatic reveal is in the works. And no word on how or if those trainers will compete among themselves to replace Jillian, or whether both will stick around for Season 12. Guess we'll have to keep an eye on Michaels' Twitter account.

In the meantime, return to Show Tracker later Monday for a photo gallery look at the Season 11 contestants. Among them: Olympic wrestler Rulon Gardner -- he won gold at the 2000 Olympics -- and started piling on the pounds when he retired from competition, and identical twin police officer brothers who can be barely told apart.

We're just waiting for NBC to make the formal announcement and release the photos.

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch


--AFI lauds film and television

--'The Vampire Diaries': Five reasons this week's marathon will thrill you

--TV dramas so dark they're funny

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times


Comments () | Archives (18)

If she wants to start a family, you can't blame her and good for her for adopting...since she more of the 'stern' trainer, it'll be interesting to see who they replace her with.

i love watching the biggest loser and i love watching jillian get in the peoples face and make them workout. Im not as big as the contestants on therebut i would love to lose the weight n get some help from jillian about losing it and having some respect for myself

The fact that your vision in cafeteria's is so clear regarding better food for kids is brilliant!! kids are our future!

She wants to adopt a baby from Africa? Why? We have plenty of babies, kids and teens waiting to be adopted right here in the USA. Besides, call me politically incorrect, but I think a black child is better off being raised by a black family. Sure, Jillian may be able to afford sending the kid to Harvard, but what about all the racial confusion? The last thing this country needs is another Barrack Obama!

I love Jillian! She will be missed. While some people think she is overly aggressive, I think she is really compassionate. The contestants friends and family are too afraid sometimes to take an "urgent" approach with these people. Yet these are very literally life and death situations. If these contestants were not on the show it is extremely unlikely that they would ever live a healthier lifestyle. Thank you Jillian for being a hard a## and saving lives! You will be missed!

Why post racial comments PIL, that comment was not necessary, besides he's doing better than the other one's! In your face, you biggot! That's her preference. Who asked you?

Who ask you PIL? You need to keep your racial comments to yourself. Like Fred Sanford says,"Biggot". Barack Obama is the best thing to happen to this Country. Look what the "other ones did" Tore it up! Get a life!

Im so glad Bob is not leaving!! He is the best they have and we love him!!!

Ok this is not about politics!! I will miss Jillian, and she will be hard to replace, but I wish her the best of luck in what ever path the chooses!!

My mom and I have watched the show since the very beginning, and I find it qutie sad that Jillian is leaving. The show won't be the same without her. However, I do wish her the best in all of her life trails...

Hi Jillian

Good luck with adoption i cant have children because of my seizure disorder i hope someday i can adpot. You are a beautiful woman i admire u!!! Wish i could meet u i live in Black River Falls Wisconsin!!! You will be a wonderful mom i have 4 nieces and one nephew i do have a half niece named Merrissa shes 15yrs old and her brother is Anthony hes 12yrs old. I am 30 yrs old and in great shape like u!!! Take care and best wishes to u i hope u get a girl well it doesnt matter as long as they are healthy! My wish is to meet u!!!

Sincerely your friend

Jenna Lea


My sister Amber Lea Spurling is a fan of yours too like me she watches the show too i dont live with her she has 2 girls who are 11yrs old and 5yrs old. We will miss u very much its not going to be the same without you. Jillian u are the best one Bob is a good trainer too you are a though lady!!! I pray u come meet me sometime!!! I am a country fan are u?

I am glad bob is staying. I like that he listens to people, and gives them the motavation they need. and in the same does not let anyone get away with anything.

I'm glad Bob is staying, otherwise I would stop watching the show. I just don't
connect with the new trainers. They seem like nice people, I just don't like their method of training and Bob and Jillian seemed to give out better tips. I hope the shows continues to do well. Good luck to Jillian and a new chapter in her life.

Thanks Jillian for everything. You've help me get in better shape than ever in my whole life. I'm glad I bought your workout DVD! It works, you're the best! I watch the show because of you. I will miss you.

You will be missed on the show, you are one of the reasons why I watch. I also need to lose about 80 to 100 pounds but everytime I try I get nowhere. How does one lose weight with two very bad knees, bad lower back, inactive thyroid, and a diabetic? I would like to get some help from Jillian. Please help!

Jillian I am a huge fan of yours. You will be well missed on the show.. Hope you post pictures of your new child on your facebook page.. I wish them the best of luck and you as well.. I have about thirty pounds to lose you are a huge inspiration to me.. I have both of your wii games and both biggest loser games..

she is my FAVORITE one out of the four trainners. please dont leave the biggest loser <3


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: