BY Laurie Pike
April 09 2010 4:00 AM ET
But Warner isn’t bothered by the chatter. She’s the kind of person who disregards haters and presses onward—just like, come to think of it, Susan Powter, the last blond lesbian to try to whip us all into healthy ectomorphs. Yet Warner couldn’t ignore it when Gatorade, a sponsor of Work Out, denounced the show after some people suggested that Warner had made catty remarks about a client who’d had reconstructive surgery after a bout with breast cancer (the comments never appeared on the show but were referred to by a trainer who confronted Warner on camera). The conversation led many fans to turn their backs on the show and demand that sponsors pull their support. Gatorade buckled. “We have watched the episode in question, and we too were surprised and saddened to see the conversations unfold between these trainers,” a company representative wrote in a statement.
Without the advertiser, there would be no season 4 of Work Out. Warner maintains that she herself didn’t make any nasty comments. Nevertheless, the incident underscored what many believed was arrogance.
“There are highs and lows in everyone’s career,” she says. “[The high isn’t] what happened at the moment but how you deal with it. I hold my head high knowing that I had done nothing wrong. Sometimes you dip and fall and recover.”
In retrospect, she says now, “You couldn’t pay me any amount of money to have cameras follow me on my trials and tribulations.” Still, she admits, the three years on the tube were therapeutic. “There’s nothing more penetrating than the camera. It shows you what you love about yourself and what you don’t like about yourself. I did a lot of self-thinking and change and working through stuff.”
Warner recovered. Bravo got over it. Together they shot a pilot for a new show, Jackie’s Gym Takeover, modeled on the cable network’s Tabatha’s Salon Takeover. Though it was ultimately scrapped, “they saw something in me worth giving a second show to,” she says, “which doesn’t happen much with that network. You don’t see many second opportunities.”
Or third opportunities, for that matter. Warner formulated yet another reality series for Bravo, ThinterventionWith Jackie Warner, that’s set to debut later this year. It’s based on her favorite A&E show, Intervention, in which people are forced to confront their alcohol and drug addictions. But here Warner will try to transform overweight, sedentary people into healthy, active individuals. It will be welcomed by those who found Warner’s clients on Work Out more interesting than her employees. And as executive producer, Warner wields more control over the finished product. “Work Out came to me,” says Warner, ever the quote machine. “I made Thintervention happen.”