entertainment

The words you're no longer allowed to say on TV.

KFC did it. Google did it (it was formerly known as BackRub…). Even Telstra used to be Telecom. Remember?

Now, The Biggest Loser, always a somewhat controversial name choice, has quietly rebranded itself TBL Families for 2015.

It’s also shed its old host, the willowy former Olympic swimmer Hayley Lewis, and replaced her with Fiona Falkiner, a The Biggest Loser alumnus from season one who went on to become a plus-size model.

So what’s the reason for the name-change?

The TBL line-up – Shannan Ponton, Michelle Bridges, Fiona Falkiner, Tiffiny Hall and Steve Willis.

Well, companies and organisations usually rebrand as part of a marketing strategy to make consumers look at it in a different light — to give it a new identity.

So perhaps The Biggest Loser wanted to get away from fat-shaming connotations and the generally offensive word “loser”.

Perhaps the show is trying to cultivate a kinder, gentler approach to health and weight loss.

With Australia being ranked 25th in the world for obesity, the show is apparently trying to show that it cares, not just about individual contestants looking hot, but about whole communities shakin’ off some kilos.

Trainer Tiffiny Hall told the Sydney Morning Herald that TBL is all about community service.

“This is a show that shapes lives and the contestants think about their potential as human beings and making their community richer,” she said.

“It is important for Australians to see what role health plays physically and mentally, within the community and for families.”

Tiffiny Hall.

The Biggest Loser‘s contestants lose huge, scary amounts of weight in a very short period of time, something that takes a mental toll as well as a physical one.

It tells them the way they are when they begin the show is unworthy and appears to be exploitative of extremely vulnerable people.

Former host Hayley Lewis.

And The Biggest Loser has been a big proponent of the skinny = happy and healthy and overweight = depressed and ill ideology.

Of course, we know that’s not true. People who are considered overweight can be fit and healthy, and people who are slim can be unfit and unwell.

We hope the new and improved TBL Families plans to take a more gentle, holistic approach to Australia’s obesity problem, rather than whip a lucky few into shape for our after-dinner entertainment.

Were you bothered by the name of The Biggest Loser, or the premise, which remains unchanged? 

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