Kauai is the big winner when NBC's "The Biggest Loser" airs two Hawaii-based episodes starting Thursday.
The reality show, now in its sixteenth season, is a contest where overweight people compete to see who can lose the most pounds with the help of personal trainers. It filmed two episodes on the Garden Island in the fall.
Darlene Moikawa, public relations and communications director with the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, said it's a big program for Hawaii in terms of reach.
Jay Talwar, chief marketing officer of the HVCB, said the show airing in the winter is good timing for Hawaii. He noted that January is when many people make a decision to travel to Hawaii.
"The Biggest Loser" last filmed an episode in Hawaii in 2011, and Talwar said it helped build a relationship between them and the production crew.
"We have teams that have a history of working with productions in the Islands," he said. "Much like the visitor industry takes care of our visitors, we really do the same with production crews."
The film crew had its eye set on Hawaii, and HVCB brought in the Kauai Visitors Bureau and Marriott into discussions as the film crew would need 80 hotel rooms during the filming.
"Kauai was the perfect place for us to film because it provided adventure as well as beauty," Joel Relampagos, executive producer of "The Biggest Loser," said in a statement. "Those are two things that our contestants experience in their journey with 'The Biggest Loser' and Kauai is very symbolic of that."
The episodes will feature competitions including a beach workout, kayaking and paddling in outrigger canoes, rappelling down a cascading waterfall and rope swinging in a tropical forest. In addition, a trainer and a contestant will face their fears of being in the open water by snorkeling in Anini Bay.
The competitions were proposed and designed by the production crew, Talwar said, but HVCB does talk to the producers about safety and cultural sensitivity.
The first Hawaii episode airs on NBC on Thursday, and a second episode airs on Jan. 1. Six of 20 contestants remain, and this year's theme involved former athletes.
Courtesy of Pacific Business News