NBC, MSN team up on 'Loser' push

NEW YORK: MSN and NBC have launched a cross-promotional Web site, city tour, and contest in an effort to unite thousands of Americans, urging them to lose a million pounds while following its show The Biggest Loser.

NEW YORK: MSN and NBC have launched a cross-promotional Web site, city tour, and contest in an effort to unite thousands of Americans, urging them to lose a million pounds while following its show The Biggest Loser.

NBC - working with Microsoft's MSN lifestyle channel - announced in December "The Biggest Loser Million Pound Match- up," a challenge issued to heavy Americans to lose weight as show contestants work on losing theirs.

On January 1, MSN and NBC launched its meet-up Web site - biggestloser. msn.com - where calorie-counters can find a partner, gain expert advice, and enter the challenge - and announced a cross-country winter tour to five US cities, which will feature 11 of the show's weight-loss celebrities.

"In keeping with the couples theme, we wanted to give viewers the ability to build a support system to help them in their quest to lose weight," said NBC publicist Jill Carmen, who added that the company expected the site to draw more viewers to the show, which also launched January 1.

After signing up with a partner for the challenge, participants can use Microsoft's blogging and social networking platform, Windows Live Spaces, to regularly document their weight loss journey through electronic photos, videos, and blogs.

On-air talent from the show will judge them throughout the season and award five teams a free trip to LA for the show's wrap party. The top team will receive a luxury fitness trip for two and a personal trainer for a year. Registrants will also have the daily opportunity to win a Zune MP3 player to aid their workouts.

About 14,000 people signed up to lose 3 million pounds in the first two weeks of the site's operation, while a January 12 stop at a Chicago mall attracted 1,200 people.

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