Sweeney takes host gig to heart

'The Biggest Loser' 200th Episode

If you see Alison Sweeney fly by during March’s L.A. Marathon, take a moment and credit “The Biggest Loser.”

Not too many reality show hosts can say they were inspired by their own series, but longtime host Sweeney appears to be an exception.

“I’m at the gym and doing the stairs, and I think back on the challenges where contestants had to go at it for hours,” she says. “If they can do it in a challenge, I can do it right now.”

Or so she hopes. With around 150 episodes under her belt, Sweeney is something of a “Loser” expert — though she wasn’t always so polished: “I was very stiff and formal at first,” she admits. “Now I understand my job a little better.”

Sweeney came aboard “The Biggest Loser” in 2007, replacing previous host Caroline Rhea. One part of that job is to host, but another is to cheer along with the contestants, and Sweeney has perfected the art of not being condescending or offering trite “attaboys.”

“I try to remain objective and root for everybody equally,” she says, “but in my heart I do play favorites.”

Part of that empathy likely comes from her own public struggles with weight loss; another part likely from her years of experience with all forms of human melodrama: The former child actress has starred on “Days of Our Lives” since 1993.

Working both jobs makes her a good schedule juggler, and she’s even found room for a third, the upcoming TV Guide Network’s “girls’ dinner out with our celebrity friends” show “Hollywood Girls Night,” premiering March 4.

That’s a lot on her plate, but Sweeney knows how to savor every bite.

“Acting is a passion, it’s who I am,” she says, “but ‘Biggest Loser,’ is not just another job. I’m a part of these peoples’ journey. That’s what’s really satisfying. We’re changing peoples’ lives, and I have a front-row seat to that.”

‘The Biggest Loser’ 200th Episode
Series a good fit for NBC, overweight public | ‘Loser’ brand breaks new horizons | Trainers accept being in the spotlight | Sweeney takes host gig to heart | Past contestants spread the message