By Ree Hines, TODAY contributor
In May of 2011, “Biggest Loser” trainer Jillian Michaels left the weight loss competition show behind. The exit marked the second time the tough-talker said so long to the show since first starting alongside Bob Harper in 2004. But now there’s good news for viewers who’ve missed Michaels’ no-nonsense presence on the long-running reality TV staple. After a brief two-season break, she’s set to return to the show — again.
Michaels made the big announcement during a Tuesday morning visit to TODAY, and revealed that her return isn’t the only big change in store for the next season of the show.
“You know, the show has chosen to take on something very controversial. They’re going to go after childhood obesity,” she told TODAY’s Al Roker. “There are going to be three teenagers on each team. They’re not going to be on the ranch, and they’re not going to be competing. It’s obviously something that needs to be handled with kid gloves, but it’s something that needs to be handled.”
According to Michaels, the powers that be behind the show felt that with “Loser’s” huge success comes an equally large responsibility.
“The producers of the show have been consulting some of the top experts — pediatricians, child psychologists — to help us deal with this in the most delicate and appropriate ways,” she explained. “For example, we won’t be saying things to kids like, ‘How much weight did you lose?’ It’s about getting them healthy, using words like ‘healthy.’ We won’t be getting them on a scale; it’s about getting them on a softball team — things like that. We’re very cognizant of how touchy it is, how controversial it is. And yet, of course, that’s right where I want to be, right in the sweet spot, right in the frying pan. I couldn’t miss an opportunity to be part of it.”
Of course, the sensitive approach the show intends to take is a far cry from Michaels’ usual shout-it-out ways. But like the show, she’s experienced some changes too. Since leaving “Loser” behind, Michaels has become a mother of two.
“The one thing (motherhood) has given me is this incredible understanding of what matters and what doesn’t,” she explained.