The news comes from court documents obtained by the Daily Mail, in which the show's resident doctor, Robert Huizenga, claims it won't have an 18th season because of an ongoing court battle with former contestant Joelle Gwynn. Tonic reached out to NBC and they declined to comment.
It's a messy situation: Last year, Gwynn gave an interview to the New York Post, claiming Huizenga gave Loser contestants drugs to fast-track weight loss—Adderall, which is prescribed to ADHD patients and is a known appetite suppressant, and pills containing ephedra extract, a weight loss supplement that's banned in the US.
"I felt jittery and hyper," Gwynn told the Post. "I went and told the sports medicine guy. The next day, Dr. H gave us some lame explanation of why [the pills] got added to our regimen and that it was up to us to take them … People chastise Bill Cosby for allegedly offering meds to women, but it's acceptable to do to fat people to make them lose weight. I feel like we got raped, too."
Huizenga rebutted, filing a lawsuit against Gwynn and the Post, saying the story was "fabricated, fictitious, and outright libelous." Gwynn fired back, standing by her accusations and demanding Huizenga's libel suit be tossed and that he pay her attorney fees.
That brings us to the most recent court documents, in which Huizenga demands that Gwynn's motion be tossed, claiming that her allegations cost him his job and resulted in the cancelation of the show.
And it's about damn time, as the recent court drama is only a small drop in a seriously tainted bucket. A 2016 study published in the journal Obesity focused on the effect of extreme weight loss, a la The Biggest Loser, on the contestants' metabolisms. It found that the intense exercising and dieting—which is frowned upon by pretty much any medical professional, save for anyone associated with the show, apparently—caused "metabolic slowing," forcing former contestants to eat an average of 500 fewer calories than people of the same weight who hadn't dieted, just to maintain their weight loss.
Before that, the show made headlines when its season 15 winner, Rachel Frederickson, stunned viewers and trainers alike when she dropped 155 pounds—going from 260 to 105—and appeared too thin for her 5'4" frame. It was a change that prompted coach Jillian Michaels to "take a hard look at my work" and eventually leave the show.
And let's not forget the other awful accusations: Contestants vomiting daily from exhaustion, severe calorie restriction paired with hours of intense exercise, and of course the psychological toll that rapid weight loss—and after, rapid weight gain—can take.
So, no, we aren't shedding any tears for the demise of what was arguably one of the most damaging shows on TV in recent history.
Correction: An earlier version of this story described Rachel Frederickson as 5'3"; she is 5'4".
Update: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that NBC declined to comment.
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