Did 'The Biggest Loser' producers manipulate the show to keep Jillian Michaels around?

Yahoo Contributor Network

On Monday night's installment of "The Biggest Loser," there was more than just a contestant in danger of going home. "The Biggest Loser" trainer Jillian Michaels was down to one solitary member on her team, Danni, and if Danni left the ranch, Jillian would be leaving with her. Did "The Biggest Loser" producers manipulate the show to ensure Danni and Jillian would remain?

The biggest news on "The Biggest Loser" this season is that Jillian Michaels has returned to the show as one of the trainers. Jillian is known for the way she pushes her team members, often just up to (and sometimes beyond) their breaking point. However as "The Biggest Loser" progressed this season, Jillian's team did not.

Jillian is the leader of the White Team and saw one of the contestants, Nikki, quit before the end of the first episode. Moving forward, the White Team came up short during weigh-ins. Week after week, members of the White Team were eliminated until only Danni remained on "The Biggest Loser" ranch.

The way the game works on is that if a trainer no longer has anyone on their team to workout, he/she is off the show for the remainder of the season. It seems this put the producers of the show in a precarious position. What could they do to make sure the most popular person on "The Biggest Loser," Jillian, stuck around?

They could design a challenge that Jillian's remaining contestant, Danni, was a shoe-in to win and offer a two-pound advantage to the victor at the weigh-in.

Throughout this season, Danni has shown herself to be a strong athlete, so it made sense to make the challenge a test of athletic prowess. The race for the two-pound advantage turned out to be a swimming competition where the contestants swam back and forth lifting rings into a fountain. Is it a coincidence that Danni was on both the swimming and water polo teams in high school?

As each team was responsible for 10 rings for each member, the stronger individuals on each team had to make up for those who were weaker. Danni, already at an advantage due to her obvious aptitude for the challenge, only had to worry about herself. Danni won the challenge and the two-pound advantage.

It turns out Danni, and Jillian, didn't even need the advantage as Danni put up big numbers on the scale this week. However it does make you wonder if the challenge, which seemed custom designed for Danni, was in place before Jillian was on the chopping block.

With Jillian still down to just Danni as her team, don't be surprised to see the teams merge on "The Biggest Loser" so that the contestants compete individually with the trainers spreading their assistance amongst everyone. Jillian Michaels is to "The Biggest Loser" what peanut butter is to celery. It just isn't nearly as good without her, and the producers are smart to do what they can to keep her around.

More from this contributor:

Getting to know Jillian Michaels from NBC's 'The Biggest Loser'

Was Adding Kids to 'The Biggest Loser' a Good Idea?

Romance Flourishes on 'The Biggest Loser'

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