ABC’s big fat summer continues, with the feel-good fat-kid series “Shaq’s Big Challenge” giving way to this obese-adult showcase — a Frankenstein-like reality show seemingly stitched together from pieces of other franchises. Part uplifting “Let’s all lose wait together” concept, part “Let’s vote ‘em off” competi-tion, “Fat March” premiered Monday to dismal ratings — representing another stumble amid a tough summer for such fare, where calorie counts have often been higher than ratings. Then again, given its awkward mish-mash of elements, this latest entry deserves to go hungry.
Starting with a scale-straining weigh-in a la NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” “Fat March” challenges its contestants to walk 500 miles from Boston to D.C. The twists, each filled with illogic, are that they can earn $100,000 each if everybody makes it; lose $10,000 of that each time someone falters; and still have the chance to vote someone out (thus reducing their payoff) at the end of each show.
Although the two hard-bodied trainers, Lorrie and Steve, try to buck up a group whose weight ranges from 236 to 519, the sudden exercise leaves one participant hospitalized for dehydration, another with injured feet and a third grousing unhappily until she finally bails — just as well, Steve says, because “her negative energy was dragging everyone down.”
Besides, you have to walk before you can, er, walk.
The conflicting aspects of the series even manifest themselves in the way contestants are identified, which in most instances involves their occupation (massage therapist, for example) but also includes “26-year-old virgin,” which, trust me, does not look good on a resume.
Executive produced by three guys named Nick (Powell, Southgate and Emmerson), “Fat March’s” main problem as it lumbers toward the finish line is what exactly we’re supposed to root for — weight loss as an end in itself, winning money, or some combination thereof.
Actually, the fact that the three producers are named Nick, so far, appears more interesting.