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September 2, 2014

Alison Sweeney Weighs in on 'The Biggest Loser' and Why 'Days of Our Lives' Is Thriving

by Michael Maloney, posted Jan 12th 2010 7:00PM
Alison SweeneyActors on daytime love to play dual roles, but Alison Sweeney probably has no interest in doubling her workload. That's because she's already juggling two jobs. In addition to her role as complicated heroine Sami Brady on 'Days of Our Lives,' she hosts the NBC reality series 'The Biggest Loser,' currently in its ninth season.

Sweeney recently chatted with AOL about having a full work plate, why she works hard at staying fit herself, 'Days'' decision to kill off beloved Uncle Mickey, why the NBC sudser is on the upswing (while others aren't faring nearly as well) and which characters she'd like to see return to Salem.Alison SweeneyActors on daytime love to play dual roles, but Alison Sweeney probably has no interest in doubling her workload. That's because she's already juggling two jobs. In addition to her role as complicated heroine Sami Brady on 'Days of Our Lives,' she hosts the NBC reality series 'The Biggest Loser,' currently in its ninth season.

Sweeney recently chatted with AOL about having a full work plate, why she works hard at staying fit herself, 'Days'' decision to kill off beloved Uncle Mickey, why the NBC sudser is on the upswing (while others aren't faring nearly as well) and which characters she'd like to see return to Salem.

How involved do you get with the contestants on 'Loser'?
I get to know them really well. They're my friends. I care about them very much and I stay in touch with them long after they leave the show. If someone is having difficulty staying on the wagon, I'll pick up the phone and call them. Sometimes they need a friend and a cheerleader.

Is it bizarre to see contestants lose almost a whole person?

I'm used to it by now. There are so many times where I'll say. 'You lost me!'

Is it safe for them to lose so much so quickly?
Yes. I think it's a lot safer than the life they're leading. It's safe. We have experts and trainers monitoring them the whole way.

You look great. What have you been doing to stay in shape?
Thank you. It was certainly a goal of mine to get in shape after having my daughter [Megan], who just turned one. I've written a book about it, 'The Mommy Diet,' which will be out this fall. I think it started with a commitment that I had in my heart to honor the contestants I work with. I stand up there on that scale and I weigh them in. I feel it's an obligation to honor that [and stay in shape]. Also, the lessons of 'The Biggest Loser' have taught me so much. You can't escape it. It helps you say 'no' a lot when you know what you're eating.

Are there 'Days' fans among the the contestants?
Yes. Ashley from this season is a big 'Days' fan. Her first question to me was 'what is Rafe [Galen Gering] like in real life?' I told her he's so sweet. I got her DVDs of the show. It's been fun to share that with them.

What do you think about 'Days'' decision to kill off Uncle Mickey (John Clarke, the veteran actor, who played him opted to retire a few years ago). Didn't Mickey's legal expertise keep Sami out of jail once or twice?
(Laughs) No! Never. I don't think he ever won a case. I mean no disrespect to the actor or the character. I don't know what motivated the writers to do it. I know Suzanne Rogers [Maggie, Mickey's widow] played the hell out of it. She's an amazingly talented actress and reminded everyone why she has that [Daytime] Emmy [for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 1979] in her living room.

Do you see your hosting gig on 'Loser' as a way to transition out of daytime?
No. I've stayed at 'Days.' I love my job. I really do. I also love reality TV. this is the only job in reality TV that I could have done and stayed in 'Days.'

Sami's missing some important people in her life -- her mom, Marlena (Deidre Hall), Austin (Austin Peck), and, most recently, Lucas (Bryan Dattilo).
[Not having Bryan on the show] is heartbreaking to me. I saw some of Austin's work on 'As the World Turns.' I love him. Fans ask me all the time about all these characters. Sami misses her mom!

'Days' has seen an increase in its numbers at a time when other shows on other networks are being canceled for low ratings. Why is 'Days' doing so well?
Gary Tomlin [our executive producer]. He's turned the show around. He has helped it come in under budget and made our stories even more compelling. The genre is still valid. Shows like 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'Lost' are also soap operas. The audience is still there. If we can compete, we'll stay on the air.

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