Danny Cahill became the latest person to win The Biggest Loser, when he dropped 239 lbs. in 7 months. NBC has now introduced the latest cast to participate is the couples edition of the series.
This new season, set to premier on January 5, is the heaviest cast ever with one of the contestants weighing an astonishing 526 lbs. The 526 lbs man is Michael Ventrella, a 30-year-old DJ from Chicago, who will be participating with his mother, Maria Ventrella, a 51-year-old corporate travel agent.
“I would do anything for Michael,” mom Maria, weighing in at 281 lbs., told PEOPLE. “At first I didn’t think I could do it because I have too many responsibilities at home. I have a husband who is disabled, my mom in a wheelchair, a full-time job, home cleaning — it’s a lot. But then he needed it so bad and so I am here, and I need it for myself, too!”
NBC is already starting to feel the heat as many are criticizing them for having such an obese man as a cast member. Critics believe the extent of activity the cast has to go through might be dangerous for some of the more obese cast members. “I’m waiting for the first person to have a heart attack,” said Dr. Charles Burant, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan telling the NY Times in a recent article. “I have had some patients who want to do the same thing, and I counsel them against it,” Dr. Burant said. “I think the show is so exploitative. They are taking poor people who have severe weight problems whose real focus is trying to win the quarter-million dollars.”
The show is set to return January 5th on NBC as the contestants will be competing for the grand prize of $250,000 or $100,000 at-home prize. Host Alison Sweeney and trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels are all set to return to The Biggest Loser: Couples.
The Biggest Loser 9 Cast Photos and Bios Below
Mom Cheryl George a 50-year-old store-owner and son,
Daris George, 25, a salesman, from Ardmore, Oklahoma.
Orlando, Fla., identical twins James and John Crutchfield, 30, weighed in at a combined 969 lbs. “I’m glad I’m here,” says James, “because my only other alternative is surgery.”
Mom Cherita Andrews a 50-year-old homemaker and daughter Vicky Andrews, a 22-year-old student from Houston, Texas.
Father O’Neal Hampton, Jr., a U.S. Postal Service station manager, 51, and daughter SunShine Hampton, 24, a restaurant server, from Minneapolis, Minn.
Father Darrell Hough, a press operator and mechanic, 46, and daughter Andrea Hough, a 24-year-old executive assistant from Ann Arbor, Mich.
Maria Ventrella, a 51-year-old corporate travel agent, and her son Michael Ventrella, a 30-year-old deejay, who are from Chicago, IL
California-based cousins Sam Poueu, 24, and Koli Palu, 29, were inspired by the success of Tongan cousins Sione and Filipe in Season 7.
Mom Miggy Cancel, 48, a Pemberton, N.J. chef and daughter Migdalia Sebren, 28, a homemaker from Sanford, N.C.
Mom Sherry Johnston, a 51-year-old non-profit administrator and daughter Ashley Johnston, a 27-year-old manager and esthetician from Knoxville, Tenn.
Attorney Melissa Morgan, 39, and her husband Lance, 38, a rancher, hail from Aspermont, Texas, and are both interested in losing weight and saving their marriage.
Mom Patti Anderson, 55, a business owner, and daughter Stephanie Anderson, 29, a radio sales executive, from Lafayette and West Hollywood, Calif.