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On a promo poster for A&E’s upcoming show Heavy, there’s a photo of a large woman, natch, against a stark, dark background. At the top it states, “From the network that brought you Intervention.” In other words, “We know how to edit to squeeze the most drama out of every moment and every last drop from your tear ducts.”

Posted right across the woman’s belly is this ominous line: “Losing is their only hope.”

**Gasp!**

Here’s the show summary: Twenty-two individuals facing extreme life-threatening health consequences as a result of their obesity experience real life change in the new original series “Heavy,” premiering Monday, January 17 at 10/9c. The eleven episode one-hour series follows two participants per episode documenting their incredible transformations during a six month treatment program.

I’ll be honest with you: I’m going to be watching every show. Maybe because I have a penchant for horror and mystery. Seriously! I watch all the ghostie stuff on Bio and Animal Planet and SyFy and wherever. Intervention is a bit much for me – again, it’s like once you’ve seen one addict, you’ve seen them all – but I also strongly dislike shows and movies that are over-the-top emotional, stupid, or make me sad and personally uncomfortable. For example, there is absolutely no way I’ll see the movie Precious; and though I thought Saving Private Ryan was great, the opening scenes made my so queasy I warn everyone against it.

I don’t watch Biggest Loser because if I want to see fat people sweating and crying all the time, I’ll go to my next family reunion. Rimshot! Seriously, it’s the same thing over and over again, not even close to “reality,” and it’s also on at the same time as one of the handful of shows I regularly watch, like NCIS or something. But Heavy? Bring it.

I think the attraction – aside from the obvious – is that it’s a fresh approach, on a network that has brought some good stuff before, like former fave Paranormal State. (Former, because lead investigator Ryan Buell now seems possessed by drama, and now it’s just sappy.) Also, folks aren’t competing to lose weight, which I think is just . . . stupid. I mean, punishing someone for not losing enough weight?

Heavy, on the other hand, seems like it’s more realistic, even though the folks are in a six-month treatment program at some faraway location. The struggle is still theirs, and I’m willing to bet there’ll be intense counseling along with vigorous exercise, with a focus on overall health and wellness, not just numbers on a scale.

Maybe I’m projecting, because that’s certainly my focus for 2011: health and wellness.

OK, the numbers on the scale are important, too.

If someone says there’s a portal to hell under some rocks, you bet your ass I’m going to move them.  ~  Ryan Buell, Paranormal State

Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.