Although there is some talk among the critics in the United States about the disappointing performance of the American Inventor Show, the concept for the show is causing bidding wars in other media markets. According to theage.com.au, Australians are going to have their own version of the American Inventor show, and the networks paid dearly for it.
Geeks bearing gifts
Forget Big Brother. Television's next reality hit is likely to star amateur inventors hoping to change the world. ...
Look out Australian idols. The stage is being reset, the disco-dancing glitterball taken down and the judges' tantrum tissues stored away. Nerds, garden-shed boffins and wannabe mothers of invention are now turning up in their droves and they have stars in their eyes ... for fickle reality TV is giving them a chance to demonstrate wackier ways in which to earn a million.
Australian inventors may have had a cosy relationship with the ABC for years, but what has been going on here pales in comparison to what is happening now in the US and Europe.
The show, produced by Pop Idol, American Idol, and The X Factor entertainment "mogul" Simon Cowell, is American Inventor. Its format has set off a bidding war for rights in Europe and we're likely to see spin-offs and adaptations aplenty. So will the nutty professors or our Thomas Edisons with a new twist on the Hills hoist become the new media superstars?
Crackpots as well as the cerebrally blessed are undoubtedly welcome in this type of show. American Inventor is about entertainment, after all, with all the highs and lows.
Still, you just need to take a look at the number of backyard makeover and do-it-yourself programs thriving on pay TV as well as on the mainstream networks to realise that there is a huge potential audience out there. And sponsors, too ...
These are not pop wannabes or disco dancers. Still, there will be the usual quota of what one American critic has tagged "nuts and dolts'', contestants who have poured money and a lifetime into an idea only to see it all end in a judge's scorn and their tears.
Cruel TV? Not a great way to encourage tomorrow's geniuses.
But American Inventor is apparently creating a stir at the international program sales market MiPTV in Cannes. Which is not really surprising. In America, the show attracts 14 million viewers and is heralded as the US network ABC's biggest Thursday-night hit for 15 years.
Inventors and inventions are already winning attention in other media. There are glossy supplements, Time magazine specials ... everyone appears keen to know what the next iPod will be, what Jonathan Ive is thinking about now and when we will get to see it, why Trevor Baylis invented the wind-up clockwork radio, and why so few people know about either of these modern-day Thomas Edisons.
You can read the whole article at theage.com.au.
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