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Bob Harper becomes host of ‘Biggest Loser’

Bob Harper will have a new role when “The Biggest Loser” begins its Season 17.

The 50-year-old Harper, who has been with the NBC show since it started, will step into the role of host. He’s replacing Alison Sweeney, who announced late last month that she would not be returning to the show.

It’s a good move for Harper, who the show promises will have a much bigger role than last season. In Season 16, once guests had been eliminated, they were surprised to discover they’d get an extra week training with Harper at a remote location on the “Biggest Loser” ranch, with the hope of sticking around longer. While it was fun to see the contestants’ reactions — and Harper with that devilish grin when he’d open the limo door to let them know what was happening — fans of the show didn’t get to see nearly enough of the popular trainer.

The weight-loss competition show, which began in 2004, will see two familiar faces returning as trainers. Dolvett Quince — back for his sixth season — and Chicago-area native Jennifer Widerstrom — who trained Season 16’s grand prize winner in her first season — will each train a team of eight. Trainer Jessie Pavelka won’t be returning.

In a statement, Harper — who’s also a best-selling author — says he’s “super excited” about his new role on the show. Expect some interesting changes too, he says: “I know all of the ins and outs, and let me tell you, the weigh-in room is going to be a completely different ballgame with me at the steering wheel.”

Be afraid, Season 17 contestants, be very afraid. (Just kidding!)

No word on when exactly Season 17 will air. Soon, very soon. (Season 16 started mid-September, if that helps any.)