He's still a big loser
Jerry Lisenby knew in April that his run on NBC’s "The Biggest Loser" reality weight-loss television show was short. He was, after all, in the room as the cameras rolled and he got the boot.
And for five months he (mostly) kept the secret.
But watching his overweight teammate-turncoats vote him off the show on the taped third episode of this fall’s series Tuesday night reignited the anger.
"I got mad watching it all over again Tuesday night, but I was really mad when it happened out in California (in April)," Lisenby said Wednesday, still aglow from his three-week stretch of fame that is by all appearances not over yet. "I was doing some good acting out there, because I was really (ticked) off."
Lisenby, the gregarious and camera-friendly former Peoria firefighter, hardware store owner and Peace Corps volunteer, is out of the running for the show’s ultimate pay-out, $250,000 that goes to the last contestant standing. That will be divulged in a live program in December that Lisenby will attend. He remains eligible for a second prize of $100,000 that will go to one of the contestants who was voted off the program. It’s unclear what the standard for the second prize will be, whether it’s most pounds lost, highest percentage of total weight lost, lowest body fat or something else. Lisenby, who has worked out like a madman since leaving the show in the spring, believes his best chance for the money is a category the show’s producers probably haven’t considered.
"If it goes to the healthiest person, I win," he said.
He looks great. Here’s Lisenby by the numbers:
His blood pressure is an athletic 112 over 72. His weight is down from 300 pounds to 204, cholesterol from 330 to 124. In April, his 300 pounds was 39 percent body fat. On Wednesday only 18 percent of his 204 pounds was body fat. The show’s goal for Lisenby was 187 pounds and 5 percent body fat. He’s afraid that’s too much, that it will leave him with a pronounced turkey neck.
He harbors a succinct and certain explanation why his teammates voted him off the show.
"I was a threat to win," he said. "And a group of fat, insecure people thought they had to get rid of me."
Well-tanned and sporting a fresh haircut Wednesday, Lisenby relished the attention the show brought him even on the day after he was forced to leave it. He said he received 300 phone calls the day after the show’s debut three weeks ago.
"I was up until 2 a.m. talking on the phone. About 280 of the calls were from people I didn’t even know."
Tuesday night, Lisenby did a live TV interview then awoke to two radio interviews and phone interviews with People.com, BuddyTV and InTouch Weekly. He squeezed in the Journal Star on Wednesday morning after negotiating by cell phone his upcoming appearance on the Today show on Tuesday morning and after taking a call from a woman he hadn’t talked to in 45 years who phoned to congratulate his sudden, if brief, streak across the celebrity cosmos.
"It’s crazy" he said. "But fun. And when it’s over, it’s over."
Scott Hilyard can be reached at (309) 686-3244 or at email@example.com.