Five Reality-TV Ideas Even Better Than 'Fit to Fat to Fit'

A&E Promises a 'Highly Emotional and Inspiring Journey' With Weight-Gain-Loss Show, But Could It Do Better?

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So it's official. In April, A&E announced that it was developing a new series called "Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit" that would challenge 10 personal trainers to totally let themselves go, then get back in shape with their clients, all for the sake of, uh, empathy -- and the benefit of the gawking public. Now the show has a premiere date: Tuesday, Jan. 12.

From A&E's announcement:

In 2012, professional fitness trainer Drew Manning saw that there was a disconnect between him and his out of shape clients. They claimed he couldn't understand what they were going through. So he purposely gained 75 pounds to understand the struggle to lose it. It was the hardest thing he'd ever done, but it changed his life forever.

A&E's new docuseries "Fit to Fat to Fit" follows 10 trainers at the top of their game who will embark on Drew's challenge; agreeing to intentionally pack on the pounds by indulging in an unhealthy diet and completely refraining from exercise in order to transform from fit to fat.... After four months of gaining weight under medical supervision, each trainer will rejoin their client and together they'll begin a four-month transformation from fat to fit.

Think this is new low-water mark in reality-TV awfulness? That's not how A&E sees it; the network calls "Fit to Fat to Fit" a "highly emotional and inspiring journey" that "will explore the highs and lows of a rigorous process many Americans battle every day."

If it's a hit, we can expect sequels and spin-offs (including the inevitable "Fit to Fat to Fit to Fat"), as well as copy-cat and derivative shows with similar concepts.

In fact, why wait? Five ideas to start with:

• "Drunk to Somewhat Sober to Drunk" -- the highly emotional and inspiring journey of a typical weekend on an American college campus;

• "Awake to Sleeping to Awake" -- the highly emotional and inspiring journey of what many Americans, particularly those who have to get up at 3 or 4 a.m. to pee, go through every night;

• "Scary to Slightly Less Scary to Scary" -- the highly emotional and inspiring journey of reality-TV stars going into make-up before and after shooting an episode;

• "On to Off to On" -- the highly emotional and inspiring journey of people restarting their computers after a Windows crash;

• "Happy to Sad to Happy" -- the highly emotional and inspiring journey of people who turn on their TVs, watch A&E reality shows, then turn their TVs back off and get on with their lives.

A&E executives: Call me.

Meanwhile, here's the Drew Manning YouTube video from 2012 that started it all, to tide you over until January:

Simon Dumenco, aka Media Guy, is an Ad Age editor-at-large. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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