‘Biggest Loser’ shock: Jillian Michaels breaks rules, Ruben returning

Jillian Michaels: Her tweet has fueled controversy over this week's weigh-in.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

“Biggest Loser” trainer Jillian Michaels broke the reality TV show’s rules of competition by doling out caffeine supplements to her team members, an unprecedented violation that led to the return of “American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard, who was eliminated last week.

Michaels insisted the supplements were safe and said she was sorry that her team members would have to pay the price for her decision. The controversy is already raising questions about the show’s integrity. Among them:

Was this an orchestrated turn of events to bring Studdard back?

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Fueling such a conspiracy theory is Michaels herself. When a viewer tweeted Tuesday night that Michaels was “being used to bring a famous contestant back,” Michaels tweeted back: “you’re spot on.

A show representative said executives were not available to discuss the incident or whether it was a device to bring Ruben back.

Expect more developments as the day unfolds. There is a morning conference call with Craig, the member of Michaels’ team who was eliminated this week. Typically, these conference calls are all about the player’s progress and personal experiences on the ranch. Wednesday’s questions are all likely to be about this brewing controversy.

There was no indication of the surprising turn of events until the weigh-in began, when host Alison Sweeney began by announcing: “Last week Jillian broke the rules and gave caffeine supplements to each member of her team without a doctor’s permission.” (Michaels looked like she wanted to cry, or kill, or both.)


As a result of the rules violation, Sweeney said, the earlier weigh-in would be invalidated. That meant Ruben would return, and the blue team would have immunity for one more week (a prize they had won heading into the previous weigh-in.)

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The punishment for Michael’s violation? A four-pound penalty at the weigh in, one for each of the team’s players. Michaels said she did not agree with the ruling or penalty. “I stand by my opinion. A caffeine supplement is significantly healthier than unlimited amounts of coffee.”

As it turns out, the supplement did not appear to give Michael’s team an edge at the weigh-in. Even without the four-pound penalty figured in, the team failed to lose enough weight. That led to Craig’s elimination.


Do you think the show has an obligation to provide more details about this incident? Does this hurt the integrity of the show? What questions would you like answered?


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