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A&E New Original Series Heavy Premieres 1/17 at 10/9C
Twenty-two individuals facing extreme life-threatening health consequences as a result of their obesity experience real life change in the new original series "Heavy," premiering Monday, January 17 at 10/9c. The eleven episode one-hour series follows two participants per episode documenting their incredible transformations during a six month treatment program.
Unlike other weight loss series, "Heavy" is not a competition or stunt, but is rooted in the incredible real life day-to-day journeys of the participants during a lengthy treatment program. In order to most accurately document these multiple weight loss journeys over the course of six months and present them individually in one hour, A&E sought out two different production companies to undertake the lengthy and ambitious filming process. The result is a never-before-seen look at the unique struggles faced by dangerously obese individuals who must learn to live healthier lifestyles and understand the root of their food addictions. Through their day-to-day struggle and the voices of their loved ones, viewers will see first hand the pain and self-doubt associated with a debilitating weight problem.
In the premiere episode, viewers meet Tom and Jodi, both 37 from Houston, TX, and learn why they are heavy and how they must reverse their lifestyles or die. Tom was the star of his high school football team, but when he dropped out his depression caused him to steadily gain weight. Now, at 5-foot-9 and 638 pounds, Tom suffers from a myriad of issues including sleep apnea, edema and the inability to sleep more than two hours. He is desperate to get his life back before he loses it permanently. Having recently suffered a stroke, Jodi, 5-foot-6 and 363 pounds, is at a critical juncture with her health. Her heaviness prevents her from keeping up with her husband and two children and from her favorite pastime, singing with her brothers in a band.
The group of 22 participants, ages 20-59, started the program between 240 and 630 pounds and collectively lost more than 2,440 pounds, with half of the participants shedding more than 30% of their body mass and losses between 63 to 173 pounds.
Participants documented in "Heavy" include: Bill, 52, a former NFL player whose crippling addiction left him homeless, and at 6-foot-3 and 443 pounds he must lose weight to get healthier and to have the chance to coach his teenage son; Debbie, 44, who at 5-foot-2 and 400 pounds, has severe health issues and lacks the self confidence to experience an intimate relationship or hold down a career; Jill, 35, a second grade teacher who is 5-foot-6 and 305 pounds must reduce her body mass if she has any of hope of getting pregnant; Johnny, at 6-foot and 404 pounds, is only 20 and faces a devastating future if he does not lose weight; Sallie, 30, who steadily gained after her father committed suicide and, at 5-foot-6 and 443 pounds, doesn't want her nine-year-old son to follow in her footsteps; Sharon, 47, who after the tragic death of her son and loss of her and her husband's jobs, needs to shed weight from her 366 pound, 5-foot-6 frame to find work and make be health for her family; Jessica, 28, who at 5-foot-2 and 288 pounds, has trouble keeping up with her kids and dreams of joining the police academy; and Ronnie, 45, who wants to marry his fiancée but, at 6-foot-2 and 447 pounds, is too heavy.
The Texas portion of "Heavy" was filmed in Austin, Texas and is produced by Megalomedia Inc. for A&E with Jonathan Nowzaradan as Executive Producer. The South Carolina portion of "Heavy" was filmed at the Hilton Head Health Institute and is produced by Tijuana Entertainment for A&E with Troy Searer and John Foy as Executive Producers. Executive producers for A&E are Robert Sharenow, Elaine Frontain Bryant and Scott Lonker.