After two weeks of on-air promotions that teased that this fall's The Biggest Loser 3 would feature fifty competitors, NBC has come clean and acknowledged that only fourteen of the fifty "contestants" (probably more accurately termed semifinalists) will make it past an initial fitness and nutrition boot camp and immediately move on to competing in the show's traditional The Biggest Loser Ranch competition.

In what appears to essentially amount to a "casting special" format similar to what other reality shows like America's Next Top Model have used before, The Biggest Loser 3's special two-hour September 20 premiere -- which will feature the introduction of new Red Team trainer Kim Lyons -- will begin with fifty participants representing every state in the country arriving at The Biggest Loser Ranch but end with thirty-six of the "contestants" already cut and sent home.

However, unlike most reality TV semifinals competitions, The Biggest Loser 3's semifinals will feature a twist (and massive product placement opportunity) -- although they've been sent home, all thirty-six of the participants who didn't make the season's final group of fourteen competitors will be encouraged to use the show's products and sponsors to continue their weight loss at home. As their reward, the previously eliminated male and female semifinalists who lose the largest percentage of weight at home will then be allowed (after some of the fourteen previously selected finalists have already been sent home) to join the show's traditional The Biggest Loser Ranch competition. Think of it as The Biggest Loser's own version of Survivor: Pearl Island's "Ghost Tribe" twist.

According The Biggest Loser executive producer Ben Silverman, the groundswell of weight loss interest the show has generated -- and not the more obvious opportunity to shamelessly hawk the show's workout DVD, book, online club, and the facilities of its 24-Hour Fitness gym chain sponsor -- prompted the upcoming season's twist.

"This season we decided to hold a fifty state competition because of The Biggest Loser weight loss challenges starting up across the nation in schools, gyms, churches and workplaces," said Silverman. "We are thrilled that our show has inspired the nation to make a lifestyle change."

While thirty-four of them won't be significant participants, NBC has nonetheless released the identities of all fifty of the semifinalists who will appear in The Biggest Loser 3's premiere. More interestingly, NBC has also released group photos of both the fifty semifinalists and the fourteen finalists that will comprise this season's initial Red and Blue teams -- but, in an apparent attempt to keep the Red and Blue team members' identities secret until the premiere airs, has not individually captioned either photo.

(8/16 UPDATE: According to The Biggest Loser's NBC spokeswoman, the network's release of the fourteen finalists photo was an error. Per NBC's request, Reality TV World has removed the photo from this article.)

The fifty contestants who will, Miss America-style, "represent each state" in The Biggest Loser 3's premiere are:

• Melinda Suttle, a 32-year-old from Huntsville, Alabama
• Kai Hibbard, a 27-year-old from Eagle River, Alaska
• John Turner, a 42-year-old from Phoenix, Arizona
• Jaron Tate, a 27-year-old from Hot Springs, Arkansas
• Brian Starkey, a 33-year-old from Valley Village, California
• Stacie Farr, a 33-year-old from Westminster, Colorado
• Chris Smith, a 29-year-old from Milford, Connecticut
• Tim Clausen, a 31-year-old from Lewes, Delaware
• Mark "Wylie" Wylie, a 40-year-old from Miami Beach Florida
• Angie Moore, a 33-year-old from McDonough, GA
• Elisha Purdy, a 35-year-old from Honolulu, Hawaii
• Linda Houseman, a 54-year-old from Boise, Idaho
• Katherine Smith, a 35-year-old from Chicago, Illinois
• Pam Smith, a 25-year-old from Martinsville, Indiana
• Steve Pilchen, a 52-year-old from Urbandale, Iowa
• Alyssa Brockert, a 26-year-old from Leavenworth, Kansas
• Jamie Dean Lucas, a 40-year-old from Elizabethtown, Kentucky
• Sabrina O'Neal, a 29-year-old from New Orleans, Louisiana
• Matthew McNutt, a 31-year-old from Boothbay, Maine
• Amy Hildreth, a 27-year-old from Baltimore, Maryland
• Nelson "Nellie Potter, a 35-year-old from Lawrence, Massachusetts
• Kally Fox, a 35-year-old from Dexter, Michigan
• Jennifer Eisenbarth, a 32-year-old from Shakopee Minnesota
• John Weatherford, a 24-year-old from Forest, Mississippi
• Marty Wolff, a 25-year-old from Kansas City, Missouri
• Mark Monaco, a 42-year-old from Missoula, Montana
• Evelyn Garcia, a 38-year-old from Omaha, Nebraska
• Joscelyn Cook, a 22-year-old from Las Vegas, Nevada
• Walter "Wally" Bressler, a 38-year-old from Bedford, New Hampshire
• Poppi Kramer, a 34-year-old from River Edge, New Jersey
• Mitzi McCaleb, a 35-year-old from Artesia, New Mexico
• Erik Chopin, a 36-year-old from West Islip, New York
• Ken Canion, a 41-year-old from Greensboro, North Carolina
• Adrian Kortesmaki, a 22-year-old from Grand Forks, North Dakota
• Nikki Myers, a 34-year-old from Columbus, Ohio
• Jason Ramsey, a 28-year-old from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
• Tim Thomas, a 34-year-old from Terrebonne, Oregon
• Valerie Robinson, a 34-year-old from E. Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
• Erin Jeffrey, a 30-year-old from Charlestown, Rhode Island
• Latorria Ladd, a 22-year-old from Clemson, South Carolina
• Dru Van Kley, a 22-year-old from Vermillion, South Dakota
• Bobby Moore, a 31-year-old from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
• Tiffany Hernandez, a 27-year-old from Kingsville, Texas
• Heather Hansen, a 36-year-old from West Bountiful, Utah
• Virginia "Ginnie" Bourque, a 27-year-old from Lyndonville, Vermont
• Jennifer Kerns, a 32-year-old from Arlington, Virginia
• Ken Coleman, a 43-year-old from Tacoma, Washington
• Christopher Blackburn, a 24-year-old from Buckhannon, West Virginia
• Kevin Theis, a 32-year-old from Verona, Wisconsin
• Sarah Mitchell, a 26-year-old from Burlington, Wyoming

(Photo credit Mitch Haaseth/NBC)