MTV Issues Cattle Call for Fat Local Teens

Students have long worried about the pounds they'll put on during their freshman year of college, but an increasing number of graduating high school seniors are trying to lose significant amounts of weight before they arrive on campus.

Those dieting teens are the focus of I Used to Be Fat, an MTV documentary series that follows a dozen obese students as they attempt to achieve their weight loss goals before school starts. The show's producers will be in Dallas tomorrow casting for the show's second season.

"Texas is so large and so diverse," senior casting director Donna Goodrow says, explaining why 3 Ball Productions -- the company responsible for The Biggest Loser -- decided to kick off its subject search in Dallas. "And let's be real: Dallas people have huge personalities."

Unlike The Biggest Loser, I Used to be Fat is not a competition. The show's subjects -- all of whom need to lose 40-100 pounds -- are assigned personal trainers, nutritionists and life coaches to guide them through an at-home "summer of shedding."

"They commit to it," Goodrow says of the three-month program. "It's not something you can quit."

The show has never before conducted an open casting call: The first season was cast using video submissions. Goodrow doesn't know how many students will audition, but says she's hoping for "hundreds."

With three other casting calls scheduled across the country, the show will inevitably be forced to turn away many students with health-threatening obesity issues. Goodrow says denying weight loss treatment to teens badly in need of help makes the show "one of the more difficult ones" to cast.

"You have a heart, and want to make sure everyone has an opportunity," Goodrow says.

Still, she adds, it's "a little bit more uplifting" than The Biggest Loser since overweight auditioners are seeking intervention at a relatively young age.

"It's good to nip it in the bud," Goodrow says.

The open casting call will be held tomorrow from 3 p.m.-6:30 p.m. at the Church of Incarnation, 3966 McKinney Ave.

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Hanna Raskin
Contact: Hanna Raskin