Yep, Jillian Michaels is Leaving “The Biggest Loser”

Jillian Michaels will not be returning for Season 16 of NBC’s hit reality competition The Biggest Loser.

It isn’t like this is Jillian’s first exit. The 40-year-old trainer joined The Biggest Loser during its 2004 inaugural season, took a hiatus in 2006, returned in 2007, then temporarily left again in 2011. (There’ll be a quiz on that later.) The wording of an exit statement issued by NBC on Wednesday, however, makes this most recent split sound a little more permanent.

“After helping hundreds of contestants transform their lives and inspiring millions of viewers at home, The Biggest Loser and Jillian Michaels have decided to part ways and she will not be returning for Season 16 when it airs in the fall.”

Devoted Goss Watchers know that whispers of a Jillian-free Season 16 has been on the horizon since last spring. People magazine snoops claimed the diminutive wellness guru behind an empire of workout DVD classics — 30 Day Shred and Ripped in 30 spring to mind — had become increasingly more disenfranchised by Loser’s new direction, in which there was little “attention paid to the contestants’ health or wellness.”

That revelation came after a controversial Season 15 finale that saw contestant Rachel Frederickson win the competition after losing an amazing 155 pounds. Her emaciated appearance set off controversy across social media. Jillian later remarked that Frederickson appeared to have lost too much weight. In a February interview with HuffPost Live, Michaels remarked:

“Nobody told me like, ‘Oh hey, Rachel is very, very thin.’ Bob [Harper] and I had no idea. Nobody had told us. Nobody had said anything to us. So yes, I was stunned. Obviously I thought she had lost too much weight.”

Jillian had expressed frustrations with the program as recently as May, telling Us Weekly that she was kinda ovah the “Mean Girl” persona that helped make her one of the fitness world’s most polarizing figures (Move it, Richard Simmons!).

“The problem with Biggest Loser is that it’s become such a cartoon of me and it’s also — you maybe see what I’ve done in 10 days, you maybe see 5 minutes of it. And of course, the 5 minutes that they’re going to show is going to be the most sort of crazy, off the wall 5 minutes.”

Are you disappointed to see Jillian go? Who do you nominate as a replacement?