|Created by||Peter Jones|
|Presented by||Matt Gallant (2006)|
Nick Smith (2007)
Ed Evangelista (2006)
Mary Lou Quinlan (2006)
Doug Hall (2006)
George Foreman (2007)
Pat Croce (2007)
Sara Blakely (2007)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||19|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original release||March 16, 2006 -|
August 1, 2007
American Inventor was a reality television series based on a competition to be named America's best inventor. It was conceived by Simon Cowell and the producers of American Idol after Ben Hausbach appeared on Season 5 with his Cosmic Coaster invention. He also appeared on Season 2 of American Inventor and was featured in the Florida auditions. It premiered on ABC on March 16, 2006. It was organized as a competition between inventors nationally resulting in one overall winner.
Janusz Liberkowski, who invented a new type of child safety seat based on the human womb called the Anecia Safety Capsule, was declared the first season's winner in a live episode on May 18, 2006. The second season premiered on June 6, 2007. Firefighter Greg Chavez, who invented a fire suppression system for Christmas trees called the Guardian Angel, was the winner of the second season, on August 1, 2007. On March 20, 2008, the show's official website was removed, and the series was not included on the 2008 fall schedule, therefore the series was cancelled.
Twelve inventors and their products are chosen from a pool of hundreds by four judges. The 12 semi-finalists are broken down into four groups of three, with each episode focusing on a different group of three. Each of the twelve semi-finalists in each group receives $50,000 to improve their inventions and compete to become one of the four finalists. The finalists would then work with a dedicated prototype and design company, such as T2 Design & Prototype who would help with expert advice and manufacturing assistance. Each group is assigned a judge who would judge their products that they have invented. Each of the four judges would then choose one inventor from their group to compete in the finals, for a total of four finalists. In the show's live finale, the four finalists present a 30-second commercial advertisement for their product, with the home audience voting by phone for the winner. The winner receives $1,000,000 worth of business support, entrepreneurial counsel, physical resources, and prize money.
Instead of 12 finalists receiving $50,000 checks to develop their inventions like in season one, six finalists, one from each of the audition cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Tampa and Houston, will each receive $50,000 and have one month to develop their inventions. The 6 finalists are narrowed down to three based on the judges' preference. Unlike the first season, the three finalists for voting were declared and were voted on by viewers immediately after the second-to-last show. The season finale was a single show, where the winner is declared among the finalists. In the first season, the finale was a two-episode feature with 30-second commercials on the first and the results of viewer voting on the second part. Also, the first season had four finalists instead of six narrowed to three.
American Inventor debuted March 16, 2006 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Each subsequent Thursday, it aired at 9 p.m. until the season finale May 18, 2006. American Inventor aired on ABC and on CH in Canada. The second season began on June 6, 2007 at 9pm on ABC. It aired on Global in Canada.
In Malaysia, it aired on NTV7 which later aired a half bit of Malay subtitles. Latin America had the airings of the show in Sony Entertainment Television on Saturday nights at 9:00pm (Chile). In Sweden TV4 Plus and later TV400 has aired the show from 2008.
The validity of the claim that the Guardian Angel was invented by Greg Chavez is unclear. This same "invention" was actually a gag product on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on December 16, 1993, the first night Julia Roberts was a guest on the show. Leno used a lighter to trigger a smoke alarm within a Christmas tree which then caused the star on the top of the tree to spray a strong burst of water, putting out any potential fire. Several similar patents have been granted over the years, and Season 1 judge Doug Hall has also called it unoriginal, writing in his blog that he once worked on something similar for a client.
American Inventor was produced by Simon Cowell's Syco TV and FremantleMedia North America, Inc in association with Peter Jones TV. The executive producers were Simon Cowell, Liz Bronstein, Siobhan Greene, Nigel Hall, and Cecile Frot-Coutaz. Co-executive producer was Daniel Soiseth.