After six years of kicking America's butt into shape on The Biggest Loser, Jillian Michaels announced in December that she'd be leaving the weight-loss reality show to "focus on becoming a mommy and doing more charity work." Now, with adoption plans in place and philanthropy a firm force in her life, Michaels has found a reason to return to television: The Doctors.
For the show's fourth season (starting September 12 - check local listings), the trainer is joining Doctors Travis Stork, Jim Sears, Lisa Masterson and Andrew Ordon as the show's new health and wellness correspondent. Michaels broke down exactly what this role entails, and revealed why she chose to leave Loser, when ETonline spoke with the fitness expert on the eve of her Doctors debut!
ETonline: Was the decision to leave The Biggest Loser difficult one for you in any way?
Jillian Michaels: No, I think that when you’re ready to make a change you’re just ready. I’ve had a very long time on The Biggest Loser to prepare myself for what’s next and to decide on what direction I’d like to go in. Even long after I decided [to leave], I still had a couple seasons left on my contract.
ET: What do you miss from working on that show?
Michaels: Bob Harper. I’m still able to work with people -- whether it’s for charity or for fun – on The Doctors. So I still get fulfilled in that way. But I really just miss seeing Bob every day. Fortunately he’s in my life as a very close friend so it’s been actually really great. I’m kind of loving this new gig.
ET: How do you describe this new role on The Doctors?
Michaels: I feel like I wear a couple different hats. One of which is to be the super consumer, sort of the voice of the audience. I can question the docs about alternative therapies and I can ask them to expand upon their answers -- pretty much everything people are thinking at home. In addition, I have the ability to help with self-esteem, self-worth, interventions and empowering people to take control of their life. It’s really easy to say you should quit smoking, or you should lose weight, or you should get your checkups, but if somebody doesn’t feel worthy of taking that step or taking control then it’s pointless.
ET: After Biggest Loser, I think people assume you are this tough as nails drill sergeant 24/7. Are you hoping The Doctors also shows America a different side of you?
Michaels: There’s definitely that aspect of daytime that I’m excited about in that you will get to see me 360 degrees. But it’s not to say the Jillian smackdowns don’t exist, because they do. Whether I’m yelling at a parent because her teenager has 26 sex partners or a woman because she drinks 9 diet sodas a day, that side of me is still there. But with that said, you know, a lot of the humor and a lot of the passion on The Biggest Loser was just taken out in the edit. They cut it for TV so, I’m hoping that people will get to see a more well-rounded version of me. But at the end of the day, you know, I’m still gonna be the girl that says what’s on my mind, is extraordinarily vocal and who practices tough love from time to time.
ET: Both shows really allow you to make a difference – but do you prefer one to the other?
Michaels: I find The Doctors to be slightly more rewarding. Biggest Loser was great, but it was not a show about information. It was a show about entertainment and that was kind of frustrating. On The Doctors I’m able to impart information that’s gonna be accessible for the masses. People will be able to watch and take away lessons that will genuinely improve the quality of their lives. It’s the main reason I wanted to be in daytime instead of primetime.
The Doctors airs every weekday in syndication, check your local listings to find out when it's on in your area.