The biggest losers
On "The Biggest Loser," people who stopped taking care of their bodies, believe deep-fried Milky Way bars have the same nutritional value and caloric content as spinach, and turned themselves into pricey barnacles on our overtaxed health-care system, get free fitness training, free meals and free medical care courtesy of the show's producers and NBC.
The show has become so popular and there are so many obese people that "Loser" is now making fat people thinner in 90 countries and has spawned numerous cottage industies in exercise DVDs, dietary supplements and even two new fitness resorts. It has become, to say the least, a cash cow.
So how ironic is it that members of the crew who film the show have gone on strike because producers don't want to pay their health benefits?
It seems the only way you get health benefits from "The Bigegst Loser" is if you weigh 400 pounds.
Yesterday, according to the Hollywood Reporter, producers brought in scab workers as about 100 "Biggest Loser" crew members and supporters of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees picketed the show's production location in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Crew members are seeking a union contract, primarily in order to provide the 50-member crew with pension and health benefits. Mike Miller, an IATSE vice president, called the lack of benefits "unbearable."
A camera operator on the show, Rob Hache, commented that "the only chance at having pension and health benefits is to have a union."
(Don't worry, Rob, the big corporations will do what's right once the Republicans repeal Obamacare.)
THR says picketing was orderly, and vehicles were permitted to enter.
A union spokeswoman said she believed that the show was shooting with a reduced crew, and speculated that the footage would be unusable. "Loser" is one month into shooting the next season, which starts in January. This season's shows already have been shot, although it's unclear how a long strike would affect the show's live finale.
The Los Angeles Times reported that host Alison Sweeney has a no-strike clause in her contract. Trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels are both members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
* We have no idea how the Academy is going to find 10 Best Picture nominees this year, but it will have to find only three nominees for best animated feature film at this year's Oscars.
Organizers announced yesterday that 15 animated features have been accepted for consideration, one short of the minimum 16 needed to expand the category to five nominees.
Among the films accepted for consideration are "Toy Story 3," the year's top-grossing movie, and fellow hits "How to Train Your Dragon," "Despicable Me," "Shrek Forever After" and "Megamind."
If "Toy Story 3" is one of the nominees, do we really need the other two?
* Federal prosecutors yesterday asked that Wesley Snipes' bond be revoked if a judge refuses to grant him a new trial on tax-related charges.
Snipes' attorney, Daniel Meachum, asked for the new trial during a two-hour hearing in federal court.
Snipes faces three years in prison for his conviction on three tax-related counts. He has been free on bond while appealing the conviction.
* In an essay titled, "Olbermann, O'Reilly and the death of real news," published Sunday in the Washington Post, former ABC News "Nightline" host Ted Koppel criticized the rise of opinionated cable news programming. Koppel said Fox and MSNBC show the world not as it is, but as partisans would like it to be.
"This is to journalism what Bernie Madoff was to investment: He told his customers what they wanted to hear, and by the time they learned the truth, their money was gone," Koppel wrote.
Olbermann, in a Twitter message, said he planned to address "Koppel's failed equivalence and his part in the real death of news."
Assuming the Tweeter really was Olbermann.
* Speaking with E! News' Giuliana Rancic, Bristol Palin explained that she was named after Bristol, Conn., home to ESPN, because her mother aspired to be a sportscaster.
To think, if she were born a few years later Bristol could have been named White House.
In the meantime, she should be thankful that ESPN is headquartered in Bristol and not Naugatuck.
Daily News wire services contributed to this report.