The final episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show will air September 9, 2011. After that date, every time Oprah screams a celebrity’s name it won’t be broadcast by network television, but by her very own cable channel. Oprah announced the beginnings of the Oprah Winfrey Network way back in 2009, but with an imminent launch date scheduled for January 1, 2011, she’s now starting to publicly wrangle programming and talent. And what better, more inexpensive way to find hidden gems across America and drum up publicity for your network’s launch than with a good old fashioned online video contest.
Last week, Oprah asked America to help her find the next Oprah. Your OWN Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star solicits video submissions from individuals that have “it” (aka “infectious energy, unique sense of humor, and personality galore”). The top five entries with the most votes will become finalists, at least one finalist will appear the Your OWN Show reality TV series co-produced by Mark Burnett, and one lucky winner will follow in the esteemed footsteps of Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz, be given his or her own show, and crowned a talk show king or queen by the big O herself.
So, who’s going to win? According to the internet, it better be Zach Anner.
With the support of 4chan and John Mayer, Anner, who has cerebral palsy and once told me he ended up in his wheelchair after a horrific tango accident, is in an early landslide lead with over 2.5 million votes. Savvy online video viewers will recognize Anner from his role in the Austin-based web series, The Wingmen and my super sweet interview at SXSW with the cast. But you don’t have to be savvy to recognize the kid’s got talent.
It’s fair to be suspect of anyone endorsed by 4chan and John Mayer, but here’s to hoping Anner’s rally continues and he catches Oprah’s eye.