Reality television shows have long dominated the entertainment landscape; just turn on any random channel and you’re likely to see one centered on family, music, sports or some other scenario. As they continue to increase in popularity though, many lament that a lot of them (especially those that predominately feature African-Americans) are unflattering, shallow and devoid of any redemptive value. While there are lots of folks who would agree with this sentiment, one of them truly had purpose: Celebrity Fit Club.
The show, which aired on VH1 from 2005-2010, was a competition reality series that showcased celebrities who wanted to lose weight. “Judged” by a panel of health experts (most notably, Dr. Ian Smith), the stars, who were assigned to two teams, would participate in rigorous, bootcamp-like challenges, get counseled about their nutrition and lifestyle habits, and then get weighed during each episode to see if they were headed toward their target weight loss goals.
Of course, with a reality show like Celebrity Fit Club, the famous faces were the initial draw—it made for good television to follow the fitness journeys—and the antics—of hip hop legends Biz Markie and Da Brat, funny ladies Kim Coles, Countess Vaughn and Jackeè Harry, or sit on the edge of your seat waiting to see what R&B star Bobby Brown would say or do.
People have long had affinity for and feel connected to famous people, which is why a show like Celebrity Fit Club resonated. Now, when it seems more and more famous people are dying as a result of health complications (Prince, rapper Phife Dawg, Maurice White, et al), a relatable show like this could be yet another source of motivation and inspiration for others to get fit.