Simon Cowell talks about the new "identity" of 'American Inventor 2'
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For its second season, creator Simon Cowell has reinvented his ABC American Inventor reality series
"We found I think its own identity this year. It is like the thinking person's American Idol," Cowell told reporters during a recent conference call about American Inventor's upcoming second season. "I mean it's not a bunch of singers trying to be famous, these are people who have given up thousands and thousands of dollars -- sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars -- all in the hope that this show is going to rescue them. So it's both funny and sad... sometimes actually quite tragic. But it's a brilliantly made show this time around and I'm quite proud of it.
As for its cast of creators, Cowell said American Inventor's second-season casting calls could rival Idol's "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" auditions that have become a favorite of viewers for their train-wreck quality.
"I would say 70% of the people who are on [American Inventor 2's first audition episode] are probably insane. I've never seen anything so weird in all my life... Everything was weird," he said. "They all come in with these strange ideas and amazingly, they've all got normal jobs and they've invented what they think are incredible ideas."
Cowell specifically referenced an American Inventor 2 hopeful who actually auditioned with a design for the wheel.
"That's what you get on a show like this," he said. "You get lots of people who are so blind to anything other than their invention, they don't take no for an answer. But in a way, I think it's more tragic then Idol because they've spent so much money trying to get these things made or developed. And when they get a no it's horrible. It's actually quite uncomfortable to watch in parts."
While Cowell won't actually appear in any episodes of American Inventor, he said viewers should still be able to recognize his imprint on the series.
"I'm a very heavy influence on this show because it's edited to a way I like," he said. "And I believe that when you make a reality show, you've got to show the good and the bad. When I say a thinking person's Idol, you've got to remember these people are in unbelievably precarious positions because of how much money they've put on the line. So it's quite uncomfortable at times when it goes wrong for them. It's just tragic at times. But like I said, when you make reality TV, you've got to show the bad things as well as the good things. And I got very, very invested... seeing how much it means to these people. It's a brutal process I think they have to go through."
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Read the whole interview at RealityTVWorld.