Let’s go back to the latest episode of The Biggest Loser: Couples. Dane was eliminated, right? Since his elimination, or at least as the program showed, he has run a marathon with his wife, doing the entire 26-mile distance in three hours and 53 minutes.
Seems like the perfect ending. Catch is, it isn’t.
Some viewers were alert enough to notice that even the most experienced marathon runners won’t be able to do the whole distance in that short a time. What more for someone like Dane, who—let’s admit it—despite having been on Loser, isn’t as physically fit as most runners? As it turns out, the entire thing was a fake: Dane did not finish the marathon. Or, to be more exact, Dane did not run the whole distance.
But it isn’t exactly Dane’s fault. There’s this field producer who works on the show, and was tasked to shoot the customary epilogue that catches up with whoever was eliminated, to see what that certain contestant has been up to, and more importantly, whether the weight loss has continued. He realized that Dane wouldn’t be able to make it to the finish line by the marathon’s six-hour cut-off time, which means he won’t be able to get footage of Dane crossing the finish line.
So he decided to get Dane inside a vehicle, and drive him until a few miles closer to the finish. From there, Dane ran the rest of the marathon and crossed the finish line in time for the cameras to catch it. The other glitch? He didn’t make it in under four hours. The clock actually says 5:53, not 3:53—a result of bum light bulbs on the clock making the 5 look like a 3.
A flurry of statements has been released since the discrepancy was pointed out, and many people started to question Dane’s achievements. Reveille Productions, who produce The Biggest Loser, was the first to release a statement. “We would like to make an official apology and set the record straight with regards to the claim in last nights episode that Dane completed a marathon in Arizona,” it said.
“From our internal investigation we learned that Dane ran the first 17 miles before receiving a ride from the field producer for 3 miles before rejoining the race at the 20 mile mark whereupon he completed the race,” it continued. “We are incredibly proud of Dane for running 23 miles and losing over 130 lbs on his weight loss journey so far and wish him luck as he continues his new healthy lifestyle. We have also taken the necessary action to ensure that there [are] no future misrepresentations and sincerely apologize for misleading our loyal viewers and it was certainly not our intent but an unwitting mistake.”
NBC was also quick to release a statement, saying that they are working with producers to determine how the entire thing happened, and what actions should be taken.
Finally, Dane himself released a statement. “I always intended to run the full marathon,” he said. “At the 17th mile, I knew I would not make it in time to cross the finish line before it closed at six hours, so I then received a ride from the field producer, who wanted to show me crossing the finish line. He drove me for three miles, and then I ran the rest of the way. After all the filming was done I went back and finished the last three miles later that day with my wife and cousin Blaine. I apologize for stating that I ran the entire marathon before I actually ran the whole 26 miles. I am proud of the feat of just running 26 miles in one day.”
Nevertheless, the fiasco has put off some viewers of the show—judging by many comments in many blogs—as well as some of those who work within the show. One source told the Los Angeles Times that there was sadness after discovery of the events, because the show “relies on its integrity” in a world where the actuality of reality shows is often questioned. They hope that this issue wouldn’t overshadow Dane’s achievements.
As for that field producer? There’s no word yet as to what will happen.
-Henrik Batallones, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: Los Angeles Times
(Image courtesy of NBC)