NBC admits ousted 'Loser' Dane Patterson didn't run a full marathon
By John Bracchitta, 02/27/2009
NBC has admitted that Wednesday night's The Biggest Loser: Couples broadcast concluded with a false claim that eliminated contestant Dane Patterson had recently completed an entire marathon and is promising "corrective action" for the matter.
The controversy began when Patterson's post-elimination update segment showed the 27-year-old real estate appraiser from Mesa, AZ stating that he had run a complete marathon with his wife Carli Mae since returning to home and continuing his weight-loss on his own.
"[It was] one of the most amazing experiences of my life to be able to run side-by-side with my wife for an entire marathon," Patterson said in the update which also featured video clips of Patterson and his wife running the marathon and crossing the finish line to cheers.
Additionally, once the video clips ended, an on-screen text update stated that "Dane completed the 26 mile marathon in 3 hours and 53 minutes" -- despite the presence of a finish line clock that actually showed "5:53" when Patterson and his wife crossed the finish line.
After the broadcast, other runners that had competed in the marathon began alerting media outlets that Patterson hadn't actually run the entire marathon and had been transported by van for part of the course, The Kansas City Star television critic Aaron Barnhart reported on Friday.
The criticism led to Patterson's wife reportedly admitting on her blog that she and her husband had in fact been aided during the marathon by a van in order to film the segment for The Biggest Loser: Couples.
"We had stopped along the way to film at a water station and to make up for lost time our producers drove us only 3 miles up the road," she wrote, according to Barnhart's TV Barn blog. "But we are still incredibly happy about the 23 miles we ran."
According to Barnhart, NBC finally addressed the situation late last night and stated that "corrective action" would be taken.
"In the final segment of last night's episode of The Biggest Loser, which updated viewers on the status of an eliminated contestant, the former contestant was shown running a marathon in his home state of Arizona. NBC today learned that the contestant did not, in fact, run the entire marathon as depicted in the segment. Because the segment as aired was contrary to NBC policy, we are working with the program producers to determine how this occurred, and to ensure that corrective action is taken," the statement read, according to Barnhart.
Patterson was eleventh contestant be eliminated from the NBC weight-loss reality series. Patterson had a record-setting run during his eight-week stint on The Biggest Loser ranch, becoming the fastest contestant in the show's history to lose 100 lbs. after arriving at the ranch weighing 412 lbs. along with his cousin Blaine Cotter, a 27-year-old college counselor from Gilbert, AZ.