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Thursday, 31 May, 2001, 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK
Slim ratings for 'Fat Brother'
overweight people
Contestants could win their weight loss in gold
The exploits of a group of overweight people put under the spotlight for a German reality TV show have proved a ratings flop.

Private TV station RTL-2 launched Big Diet for overweight people wanting to slim under the gaze of 42 cameras.

The first weekly show pulled in 1.27 million viewers but this dropped to 660,000 for the second programme.

The network had hoped to corner an 8% share of the market, but reached only 2%.

In Germany Big Brother was pulled off the air midway through its run because of a lack of interest, despite huge audience figures for the format across the world.

Big Diet sees 12 obese people battling to shed the pounds.

Staying in a luxury mansion the group are undergoing gym sessions, medical examinations and lessons in healthy cooking.

They are allowed to consume only 1,200 calories a day.

Weight in gold

Viewers are encouraged to take part in the aerobics and the cooking lessons.

Those who fail to achieve their weight-loss goal each week are kicked out.

The contestant who loses the most will win that weight in gold.

The German Institute of Dietetics has criticised the show for encouraging dieters to lose too much weight too quickly.

RTL-2 were behind the axed German Big Brother, while Girlscamp - featuring a group of women on a desert island and a man tasked with seducing them - also flopped.

But German television companies are persevering with the reality genre as ARD gets set to launch a show about life in the Black Forest 100 years ago.

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See also:

24 May 01 | TV and Radio
Reality TV around the globe
04 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Reality TV still a hit
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Eating disorders
22 Dec 00 | Health
'Obesity a world-wide hazard'
11 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Big Brother reaches for the sky
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