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NBC's 'The Biggest Loser' is back with 15 inspiring contestants, including singer Ruben Studdard

by jmaloni

Press release

Wed, Sep 4th 2013 02:40 pm

Plus, trainers get a "trainer save" for first time ever on the series, which moves to a one-hour format for most of season 15

Fifteen inspiring contestants - including the show's first celebrity player, Ruben Studdard; an uplifting "Second Chances" theme; and fun, new creative elements ignite season 15 of NBC's popular series "The Biggest Loser," premiering Tuesday, Oct. 8 (8 p.m.).

Alison Sweeney hosts the series, which features charismatic trainers Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels and Dolvett Quince. Together, they have helped contestants lose more than 26,600 pounds during 14 seasons of the motivational show.

On the trainer side, new creative elements are being introduced this season that give Bob, Jillian and Dolvett more powerful roles. For the first time in the show's history, trainers sat in on casting sessions and helped select the new contestants. Also, the trainers will be empowered with a "trainer save" in season 15, allowing each one to save one eliminated contestant from going home. In addition, "The Biggest Loser" will start the season with one-hour telecasts on Tuesdays (8-9 p.m.). There may be selected two-hour telecasts as "TBL" moves closer to its Feb. 4 finale.

This season's inspiring theme of "Second Chances" will be seen through the compelling stories of 15 contestants, all on their own unique journeys to reclaim their health and re-write their futures.

It has been a decade since Studdard was crowned the winner of "American Idol" and launched a successful music career. Now he returns to television on a very different stage, hoping to lose weight and learn how to live a healthy lifestyle. Ruben is this season's heaviest contestant at 462 pounds.

Also featured this season will be David Brown, who lost his first wife to an almost decade-long battle with cancer and is now fighting for his life so he can be there for his daughters; and Tanya Winfield, a single mom addicted to food who grew up with a teenage mom addicted to drugs. She is eager to break the cycle of addiction in her family.

Also competing this season will be Olympic weightlifter Holley Mangold, hoping to get in the best shape possible for a second chance at gold in the 2016 Olympics; Matt Hooper, who postponed his wedding to be on the show so he could give his fiancé the best physical version of himself; Craig Arrington, a 30-year-old father who lost his own dad to a heart attack at age 32, and wants to make sure he will be there longer for his kids; and Rachel Frederickson, who gave up scholarships and a promising career as a nationally ranked swimmer for a relationship that didn't last, and now wants another chance to create the life she dreams of for herself.

The new contestants competing for the $250,000 grand prize will be:

  • Fernanda Abarca (3D animation artist/cake sugar artist), 32, Montrose, Calif.
  • Craig Arrington (warehouse supervisor for pharmaceutical company), 30, Wilson, N.C.
  • Chelsea Arthurs (clinical research professional/event planner), 28, Raleigh, N.C.
  • David Brown (project manager for construction company and social commerce leader for phone company), 43, Edmond, Okla.
  • Rachel Frederickson (voice-over artist), 24, Los Angeles
  • Hap Holmstead (sales consultant/entrepreneur), 26, Pleasant Grove, Utah
  • Matt Hooper (retail manager), 38, Georgetown, Mass.
  • Holley Mangold (Olympic weightlifter/caterer), 24, Columbus, Ohio
  • Jennifer Messer (clerk/bookkeeper), 42, Abingdon, Va.
  • Tumi Oguntala (brand strategist), 41, Clifton Park, N.Y.
  • Marie Pearl (senior staff accountant at a community college), 30, Springfield, Mo.
  • Bobby Saleem (attorney), 28, Chicago
  • Jay Sheets (marketing associate for a food company), 38, Farmington, Mo.
  • Ruben Studdard (singer), 35, Birmingham, Ala.
  • Tanya Winfield (chief operating officer of a restaurant franchise), 41, Plainfield, Ill.

Bios for all of the contestants can be found at http://www.nbc.com/the-biggest-loser/.

Fans can "like" "TBL" on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/biggestloser, and follow the show on Twitter at http://twitter.com/biggestlosernbc.

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