'Biggest Loser' 's New Host Bob Harper Promises a 'Completely Different Show'

"[We're] treating the contestant's house like what it really is, a rehab center," Harper tells PEOPLE

Photo: NBC/Getty

There are some big changes coming to Biggest Loser.

“I’m really excited about this season,” Bob Harper tells PEOPLE of making the move from trainer to host of the NBC reality weight-loss competition’s seventeenth season. “It’s going to be a completely different show – completely different.”

Harper, 50, promises more of an emphasis on the “nutrition element” of weight loss as well as a deeper dive into why the contestants came on the show.

“In the very first episode, you will see us sitting in the living room and treating the contestant’s house like what it really is, a rehab center,” says Harper. “They all have voices and will talk about their experiences. The issues they are having can’t be fixed in one episode. I really want to be able to tell stories throughout the season.”

And Harper has the full support of this season’s trainers – Dolvett Quince and Jennifer Widerstrom – as he gets used to his new position.

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“He’s a trainer like us,” says Quince. “He knows this system better than anyone, so I think it’s going to be a comfortable role for him. He’s transitioning nicely.”

“You can’t think Biggest Loser without thinking Bob Harper,” adds Widerstrom. “And we’re no fools. We’re going to use him in a really special capacity. To have him as host is really going to push me to my best. It’s going to be an emotional and fun year.”

As for being compared to the show’s former host, Alison Sweeney, Harper says that’s like comparing “apples and oranges.”

“Ali did a great job on the show. I think what I’m going to be doing is completely different,” he says. “In the very first episode, you’ll see me yelling at people on the treadmill. I’m a trainer and I’ll always be a trainer. But I’ll be able to bring so much more now.”

And while the contestants may be glad to have Harper involved in their training, their enthusiasm might fade once they see what he is like hosting the weekly weigh-ins.

“The weigh-ins are going to be a completely different environment,” says Harper. “I know everything when it comes to weight loss and how this show works. I’m going to be very opinionated. I’m not going to hold back.”

Season 17 of The Biggest Loser is slated to return to NBC in early 2016.

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