She had always struggled with her weight, but in January 2006, Kai Hibbard was in real trouble: At just 26 years old, her 5-foot-6 frame carried 265 pounds.
Her best friend staged a mini-intervention. “She said, ‘Hey, I love you, but you’re super-fat right now,’ ” Hibbard recalls. The pal encouraged Hibbard to try out for the smash NBC reality show “The Biggest Loser.”
“So I made a videotape,” Hibbard says, “and the next thing I know, I’m on a reality TV show.”
Hibbard had never seen “The Biggest Loser.” She had no idea what she was in for.
“The whole f- -king show,” she says today, “is a fat-shaming disaster that I’m embarrassed to have participated in.”
Since its premiere in 2004, “The Biggest Loser” — which pits obese contestants against one another in a race to lose the most weight — has been one of the most popular reality shows of all time.
The 16th-season finale will air live on Jan. 29. Average weekly viewership is 7 million people, and about 200,000 people audition per season.
The show rakes in about $100 million annually in ad sales, with ancillary products such as cookbooks, DVDs, protein powder, clothing, video games and branded weight-loss camps bringing in tens of millions of dollars more per year.