Most Dangerous Biggest Loser Season Yet Promises Half-Ton Identical Twins


Wash those crusted tears off your oversize sweatshirt: NBC just announced that the Biggest Loser's ninth season will premiere on Jan. 5. That's right, the network will roll out a new iteration less than a month after Danny Cahill shed a record-breaking 238 pounds and barely edged out Rudy Pauls for the Season Eight title. So how will the Peacock top its capital-conquering and proposal-inclusive "biggest season yet?"

By introducing you to Michael Ventrella, a 30-year-old Chicagoland deejay who tips the scales at 526 pounds and a pair of identical twins, James and John Crutchfield, who together weigh nearly a half-ton. Ventrella will be the heaviest contestant in BL history, making this season also the most dangerous. Just last month, the New York Times cited the extreme lengths taken by contestants to lose weight for the $250,000 grand prize and the fatal risks the series posed. Dr. Charles Burant, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan, predicted a heart attack in a future season, especially as the show finds larger and unhealthier contestants: "I have had some patients who want to do the same thing, and I counsel them against it. 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."

A 20/20 investigation of the risks was launched -- and later halted -- when producers threatened contestants with $1 million lawsuits.

Regardless of who wins that huge Subway-sponsored check at the end of the season, may all of the contestants (the rest listed below) enjoy a healthy weight loss journey and all of the Jennie-O turkey products they can stomach.

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.

California-based cousins Sam Poueu, 24, and Koli Palu, 29, were inspired by the success of Tongan cousins Sione and Filipe in Season 7 and hope to do the same for the people and culture of American Samoa.

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 Patti Anderson, 55, a business owner, and daughter Stephanie Anderson, 29, a radio sales executive, from Lafayette and West Hollywood, Calif.

Mom Cherita Andrews a 50-year-old homemaker and daughter Vicky Andrews, a 22-year-old student from Houston, Texas.

Mom Miggy Cancel, 48, a Pemberton, N.J. chef and daughter Migdalia Sebren, 28, a homemaker from Sanford, N.C.

Mom Cheryl George a 50-year-old store-owner and son, Daris George, 25, a salesman, from Ardmore, Okla.

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.

Mom Sherry Johnston, a 51-year-old non-profit administrator and daughter Ashley Johnston, a 27-year-old manager and esthetician from Knoxville, Tenn.

· The Biggest Edition of The Biggest Loser Ever! [People]