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The CW pounds a familiar beat with Shedding for the Wedding

Houston's Chase & Lindsey shake, shake, shake. CW photo

Premiering: Wednesday, Feb. 23rd at 8 p.m. (central) on The CW
Hosted by: Sara Rue, with trainers Nicky Holender and Jennifer Cohen, and wedding planner Brian Worley
Produced by: Dave Broome, Rick Hurvitz, Ari Shofet

From the creator and executive producer of The Biggest Loser comes -- The Biggest Loser.

Except that it's called Shedding for the Wedding and it's on The CW instead of NBC. Otherwise nine overweight, engaged couples vie to drop the largest percentage of pounds in pursuit of "the wedding of their dreams" after host Sara Rue, a former plus-sizer herself on ABC's Less Than Perfect, says it's her "absolute privilege" to accompany them on this journey.

Let them eat cake? Not just yet. First they'll have to sweat, suffer, "gag vomit" and try on bride/groom attire that doesn't fit them before the big weekly weigh-in sends the two least-losing couples spinning into a climactic " 'Til Death Do Us Part" elimination competition. It doesn't get much better than that.

The nine couples include two from Texas, Arlington's Taylor and Peter, and Houston's Lindsey and Chase. The heaviest groom, 367 pound David of North Hollywood, also has the bulkiest fiancee, 230-pound Valerie. Taylor is the only prospective bride to outweigh her prospective groom, by a count of 228 pounds to 210.

All of the contestants are likable and fun-loving enough, at least during Wednesday's scene-setting premiere episode. And the contrast in body shapes will be striking, with the doughy denizens of Shedding for the Wedding following CW's "Cycle 16" launch of America's Next Top Model and its stick-thin aspirants.

Shedding otherwise is groaningly familiar in every way with its mix of taskmaster trainers, supportive yet firm host and heavyweights who are in it to win it. To that end, emotions ebb and flow while bared male breasts sag like popped balloons during the gut-churning weigh-ins. Women are covered up, but viewers of these shows apparently have come to expect full frontal male obesity -- and lots of it.

So no tank tops for the guys. Just put it out there and let the nips fall where they may. On your basic local or network newscast, though, you still can't shoot anyone above the chest for all those stories on America's obesity epidemic.

A couple of the couples get off some pretty decent lines. Austin says he used to have a six-pack. "Now he drinks a six-pack," says fiancee Laura.

Ginny and Marc first met at his New York comedy club. They're both pack-a-day smokers, and Ginny, for one, says "it's the oral fixation that I miss most" while on the Shedding for the Wedding regimen.

"Well, we can fix that," Marc says with a bada bing grin on his face.

The nine competing couples are all given nicknames, which range from "Team Beach Romance" to "Team Eco-Lovers." Perhaps it would be bad business for various fast food chains to go ahead and outfit them in the official colors of their double stuffed crust pizzas, Angus McQuadruple burgers or chicken fried baconwiches with cheese.

Oh well. The winning couple will end up walking down an aisle in better shapes than they began while The CW tries not to bust its somewhat meager programming budget on too big of a dream nuptial. So Shedding for the Wedding gets marked on the curve for its end result, with the hope that some of these couples actually will continue to eat healthy once the cameras stop forcing the issue.