UPDATE: 8/2/11: Watch our interview with Anna Kournikova live from The Ranch during week one!
UPDATE: 5/24/11: During the live Biggest Loser 11 finale, Alison Sweeney announced that Anna Kournikova will be joining the ranch as a trainer for season 12. The leggy tennis star then walked out on the stage, much to the surprise of the live audience, and expressed her enthusiasm for being a part of the show. She also congratulated the current contestants on their success.
News is spreading quickly that the 29-year-old tennis star will be the show’s next trainer, and NBC will not confirm either way. We received this comment from our publicity contact: “We can’t comment at this time on the multiple casting rumors surrounding the show, but look forward to making a big announcement about season 12 of “The Biggest Loser” at our season 11 live finale next Tuesday, May 24 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.” Anna made an appearance during season nine as a guest star, offering motivation to the contestants during a tennis challenge, but does she have what it takes to move them all the way to finale?
In a brief post at ExtraTV, they report that Kournikova, along with Cara Castronuova and Brett Hoebel, will be formally announced during the season 11 finale on Tuesday, May 24.
While Kournikova confesses to working out daily, no doubt a necessity to keep her body fit and trained for her sport, it’s debatable to what extent she has experiences training others. Especially others who are considered morbidly obese, come with lengthy lists of related medical problems, and have deeply-seeded emotional issues that must be worked through. Her credentials seem to fall flat when you question whether or not she has what it takes to truly help these people, although she delighted contestants when she made a special guest appearance on the show during season 10.
In March we shraed that Biggest Loser was casting new trainers, in preparation for Jillian’s departure (who is now joining the cast of The Doctors and Dr. Phil). Questions still swirl about whether new trainers Brett Hoebel (who was briefly let go after his entire team was eliminated during season 11) and Cara Castronuova would remain on staff, alongside mainstay Bob Harper.
If the Kournikova placement is true, is this a stunt move on Biggest Loser’s part to retain some of the viewership that may be lost after Jillian leaves? While it is a reality program, Biggest Loser has one of the truest followings of any reality TV program, and people tune in are often trying to follow that expert advice for themselves at home. If rumor proves true, we hope Kournikova can serve the needs of each individual that enters the ranch this summer.