‘Biggest Loser’ Production Resumes; Trainers Won’t Cross Picket Line

Strikers loudly sing “Happy Birthday” to passers-by in effort to disrupt production, which has resumed with scabs; trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper refuse to cross

Production has resumed on the Calabasas, Calif., set of "The Biggest Loser," with scabs replacing striking stage employees — but no trainers, who have so far refused to cross the lines.

Approximately 60 people manned a picket line outside the set Monday morning, with striking crew members — as well as officials from their new union, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) — loudly singing "Happy Birthday" to anyone they could find in an effort to disrupt production of the NBC reality series.

According to one IATSE official, Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper, who serve as trainers on the weight-loss-themed series, refused to cross the picket lines Monday.

However, representatives for the show's production interests, which include 3 Ball Productions, 25/7 Productions and Reveille, declined comment.

Carpenters, art department workers, camera operators, makeup specialists and other production workers for "The Biggest Loser" have been on strike since Nov. 7, since the show's producers indicated that they weren't going to recognize their decision to join IATSE.

"All of the other successful reality shows, including 'The Bachelor,' 'Survivor,' 'Wipeout' and 'America's Top Model' are union," said Vanessa Holtgrewe, a director of photography on "The Biggest Loser" for the last four years. "It's not like we're asking for something out of the ordinary."

While producers of "The Biggest Loser" have refused to recognize IATSE, they do have contracts with the Directors Guild of America and the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists.