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Invent This - May 17

Ever since ABC decided that four nights of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" was just what the doctor ordered for their anemic schedule in 2000, they can't seem to do anything right in terms of game shows or prime-time competitions. (I don't think they were wrong, because I watched, but four hours of Regis a week is lots to digest.) They have a great little show in "American Inventor," but no one knows it because the show is on Thursday nights at 9. The show isn't even covered in GSNN's 'Primes' section because it's not on the radar. That's a shame, because at its heart, the show is truly all-American.

Like that talent search show on the FOX network, contenders bring in their homemade inventions to be judged by a panel of industry experts. Those with three 'yes' votes move on, less than three and it's a bus ride home. Winners advance to a round of 12 semi-finalists, where each inventor receives $50,000 in seed money to help build and market their invention. The final winner gets $1 million more, and the title of "American Inventor." (Another side note, is it now a law that any show where contestants are judged must have a stuffy British guy on the panel? Just saying...)

Even though we only have the final episode left, I still implore everyone to watch. This show is what America is all about. Rather than watching people jump from helicopters, scheme and plot or sing and dance, these people are putting their noses to the grindstone and ingenuity into projects that they believe in. America was built on the theme of people can do anything as long as they put in the time, energy and effort. No quick fixes, magic bullets or meteoric rises to stardom here, just four people with a dream.

Now that I've told you to watch, it's time to get on ABC's case. "American Inventor" was a show that could have succeeded, but ABC seems to go about it completely the wrong way. Instead of giving it a fighting chance, the show is shunted off to Thursdays at 9 o'clock, where it would be missed by those watching NBC's comedy lineup, or CSI. I doubt ABC thought that 9 on Thursday is what ABC thought of as an easy timeslot to win, maybe ABC just needed a placeholder until summer reruns, but it was unfair to what could have been a great show.

Travis Eberle is working on a machine that will turn grass clippings into gold bullion. Send him some seed money at


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