Tag Archives: OWN

Zach Anner announces new show: Riding Shotgun

Just got a great Facebook update from Zach Anner of Austin, my favorite wheelchair travel show host/comedian. He is about to start a new travel show that looks very promising.

You may remember that Zach won a national contest by Oprah Winfrey and got to make a travel show for OWN, her new cable network. I fell in love with him back then and was rooting for him the whole time. I posted about him and even went to see him at the Alamo Drafthouse.

I got to see most of the episodes of Rollin’ with Zach. I liked them, and I think it was a great launching pad for his career, but I didn’t think it demonstrated his real potential.

I got the feeling the show’s producers didn’t know quite what to do with him and were calling too many of the shots. He was funny and he had some interesting and adventurous experiences, but he didn’t get to be as spontaneous and funny as he can be.

The new show could be just what the doctor ordered. It will be “by the Internet, for the Internet.” He’s teaming up with Reddit and will make his travel choices in the U.S. and Canada based on input from Redditors. That’s an audience that can appreciate some adult humor, believe me. He’ll be able to be himself, and I bet it will be a lot of fun.

Here’s his announcement:

You can keep up with what Zach is doing by following his Facebook page.

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Zach Anner’s show, ‘Rollin’ with Zach’ will premier on Monday, Dec. 12

Just an update in case you haven’t kept up. A while back I wrote about Zach Anner, a comedian in a wheelchair who won a show on Oprah Winfrey’s new cable network with huge support from fans on the Internet. I got to meet him during a screening at Alamo Theater in Austin, the night of the official announcement. Well… The time has come. The first episode of the travel show ‘Rollin’ with Zach’ will air on the OWN Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. Central. Watch it if you can. I think this young man is going to be huge. He’s funny as hell, not to mention inspiring. (I don’t get OWN, but someone is going to record it for me.)

Edit: Here’s a five minute sneak preview.

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Zach Anner wins show from Oprah’s network. Go Zach!

Normally I don’t give a crap about celebrity and I’m not a big fan of reality shows, but I am thrilled that Austin’s own Zach Anner will get the travel show he’s always wanted to make after winning the Your OWN Show contest on Oprah’s new network. (Buffalo, NY wants to claim him just because he grew up there, but they can’t have him.) In fact, it was a tie. Kristina Kuzmic-Crocco¬†gets her cooking show as well.

I didn’t see it coming, but I think Oprah made the right decision. She wound up with two people who were too talented to let go. They would probably just get picked up by some other network at this point.

I got a chance to see Zach in person last night at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar at a viewing party put on by his friends from Lark the Beard Production Company (the guys from the Wingmen series on Youtube).¬†For a while I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. My pickup overheated in the traffic on Lamar and I had to pull over a couple of times and let it cool off. But I did make it and had a great time watching the show. They started off showing some of Zach’s videos and he made wisecracks and told how they came about. He also gave some great commentary during the commercials as we waited to see who was going to win.

“I want you guys to root for Kristina too,” he said. “We’ve gotten to be really close. Plus, she’s really cute and looks like Sandra Bullock.” I didn’t think about it till he said that, but she does, kinda.

I had a feeling in the beginning that Zach had it in the bag, but I was still on pins and needles as they showed Kristina’s cooking show pilot and it was really good. Of course Zach’s was also excellent. Then the surprise ending came and got a standing ovation.

Zach said he’s known that he and Kristina won since October. “I had to come back and lie my pants off and hope everybody still liked me once they found out,” he said. His mother also knew, but “nobody goes outside in Buffalo in the winter” so it was easier for her to keep the secret.

Zach said the travel show will begin sometime in summer and he will start out visiting places in the States at least for a while before venturing out of the country.

I appreciated that he took time to meet with everyone and pose for pictures after the show. I felt a bit awkward at first, since I was with a bunch of people who knew him personally and I was just an “Internet person,” but he seemed genuinely happy to see me. I didn’t have a Reddit T-shirt to wear, but I told him I was part of the “Reddit wave” that helped him win the online voting. (That wave for Zach is also what got me to quit lurking and join that frustratingly addictive site.)

I loved the way he dealt with the question about the online voting controversy last summer that turned out to be a tempest in a teapot (People noticed Zach’s total was dropping for a time — most likely it was just the tech guys working for Oprah trying to combat mass voting by mischief-makers from 4-chan, God love ‘em).

“I didn’t really think about it,” he said. “There was so much positive news to think about. I don’t have any idea how the Internet works. As far as I know I still have Compuserve.” Funny and graceful as always. In fact though, I believe he does know quite a bit about how Internet culture works, a perspective that might prove valuable to people on Oprah’s network who are probably somewhat baffled by it.

Can’t wait to see Zach’s show. I know it’ll be great. I don’t have the premium cable channels, but I might have to sign up by summer.

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Down to the last two people: Zach Anner might just pull this off and get a show from Oprah

Gotta digress from the music for a bit and say congratulations to Zach Anner of Austin. I posted about him in June, after I saw his hilarious audition video. He made it to the Your OWN Show competition as a wild card after the Internet fell in love with him and now it’s down to only him and one other person. I think he’s got it in the bag, but we’ll find out next week.

I think he’s got a career in show biz coming whether he wins this or not. He’s got an amazing amount of charisma. Soon as he opens his mouth you forget he’s in a wheelchair. You just see a person with a lot of gumption and empathy — and a great talent for making people laugh.

His interview with Oprah Winfrey really shows what he’s made of. She interviewed him and he turned it around and interviewed her. Very good questions too. See for yourself. I think this guy is a star in the making.

 

Edit: If you didn’t know, Zach won, as did Kristina (I should’ve seen it coming, but I was surprised). I got to see the finale at a watch party in Austin and got to meet the new TV star in person. I posted about that here.

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