ARARAT - Finishing touches are being put in place with filming on The Biggest Loser: Ararat set to begin in about six week's time.
Executive producer of The Biggest Loser, Stuart Clark told a crowd of about 80 people at a public meeting last week that the production company had been in close consultation with Ararat Rural City Council in preparation for the hit television program's arrival in late April.
"We will look to include everyone in the Ararat community and make sure that anyone who wants to be a part of the show will have that opportunity to partake in the various health initiatives that we will be creating and filming over a three month period," Mr Clark said.
"We will be looking to take anywhere up to 20 locals back to the Biggest Loser house (in Sydney) to put them through the accelerated course and then have those people come back and teach the community all the things they have learnt.
"We will be in the town in one way or another for 12 weeks and will be having events such as gym sessions, classes like how to cook properly, how to cook healthy food, all of that will be done in a community sense for anyone who wants to participate.
"There are no costs to participate either, it will just be a matter of show up and be a part of it."
Channel 10 has left the casting process open so that anyone who is still interested in meeting with producers and participating in the audition process is welcome to.
Mr Clarke said The Biggest Loser production team had formed a strong working relationship with Council, East Grampians Health Service, VicHealth and other local health organisations and businesses in the town.
"The ones we take back to camp Biggest Loser will be ones that obviously need a little bit more help, but for every person at the camp there will be 30, 50, 100 people back here in the town behind them basically being taught the same tools and getting the same opportunities," he said.
"We will look at creating community groups. People who are going to encourage and help each other, for example whether it be a group from AME or Gason, it could be a group of single mums and dads, members from the CFA.
"We will build community groups and encourage those groups to be self-perpetuating so long after we have left this town those community pods are still living, breathing and teaching the philosophy of a healthy lifestyle.
"Some people want to come to the house, some people want to experience The Biggest Loser but because of work or family commitments or they are shy they don't want to go down that route, but still want to be involved. There is an option for everyone."
Mr Clarke said most of the activities in the town would be conducted on weekends so as many people as possible would have the opportunity to participate.
He said one of Australia's leading nutritionists Claire Collins, who has been with the show for eight years, would be working with the Council, EGHS and VicHealth throughout the series to help develop accurate data which would measure the impact the program's presence has on the town.
Other details revealed at the meeting included:
Confirmation trainers, Michelle Bridges, Shannon Ponton and the Commando (Steve Willis) will spend time in Ararat.
Along with the official contestants vying for the $250,000 prize money, there will be opportunities for local community groups to also win prize money.
The production team will be looking to employ some Ararat residents in casual positions to help out behind the scenes while filming occurs around the town.
Mr Clarke said those wanting to participate as contestants on the show must make sure they are doing it for the right reasons.
"The people who want this have decided that they really need to change their lives, they are at their wits' ends," he said.
"They are at that point where they say if I don't do this what is the rest of my life going to be like?
"And then there are others that say this looks like a bit of fun, I wouldn't mind being on telly. If that is what you are thinking, don't do it because you'll hate it. It is really, really hard, but at the end of it those that are in it for the right reasons will say this is the best thing I have ever done in my life."