Radio and TV Talk

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

'The Biggest Loser' season 17 cast heavily Southern (with five Georgians)

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Wednesday, December 2, 2015

NBC's "The Biggest Loser" generates headlines nowadays by adding a celebrity or two each season. This year, it's Richard Hatch, season one "Survivor" winner and a season two "The Voice" contestant Erin Willett are teamed up. Former "American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard and pro tennis player Zina Garrison have participated in the past.

But I also noticed that the South was heavily represented in this season's cast of 16, which features duos of siblings, spouses and parents/children and the like. Ten of the 16 are from the Southeast, five from Georgia.

None are from metro Atlanta. Two are from K'ville, near Savannah. Others are from Perry, Statesboro and Warner Robins. Another is from Kissimmee, Fl. and four are from North Carolina.

This isn't quite as flattering as "American Idol," which has had plenty of contestants from the South over the years, from Clay Aiken to Chris Daughtry to Georgia's own Phillip Phillips.  A majority of the winners are from the region.

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"The Biggest Loser" returns January 4, 2016. The winner takes home $250,000.

The breakdowns are as follows:

Best Friends

  • Whitney Clay (Nanny), 30, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Felicia Buffkin (Nanny), 29, Raleigh

Parent-Adult Child Teams

  • Vicki Clark (women's health care nurse practitioner), 54, Bladenboro, North Carolina
  • Lauren Clark (nutritionist), 32, Bladenboro
  • Rob Kidney (small business owner), 56, Warner Robins, Georgia
  • Sarah Gilbert (makeup artist), 27, Perry, Georgia

Relatives (Aunt/Niece)

  • Tonsheia "Toy" Grandison (store manager/part-time caretaker at a girl's group home), 35, Statesboro, Georgia
  • Britney Anderson (health unit coordinator and makeup artist/hairstylist), 27, Kissimmee, Florida


  • Luis Hernandez (physical/health/driver's education teacher), 36, Chicago
  • Roberto Hernandez (physical/health/driver's education teacher), 36, Burbank, Illinois


  • Jacky Kmet (high school counselor), 42, Hainesport, New Jersey
  • Stephen Kmet (pharmaceutical sales recruiter), 43, Hainesport
  • Hope Wright (housewife), 35, K'Ville, Georgia
  • Colby Wright (car dealership salesman), 31, K'Ville


  • Richard Hatch (television personality), 54, Newport, Rhode Island
  • ErinWillett (singer/songwriter), 26, Brooklyn

About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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