Janusz Liberkowski wins American Inventor

Janusz Liberkowski won American Inventor last night, taking the $1 million prize for his spherical safety seat named after his daughter, Anecia.

But everyone else didn’t go away crushed. Representatives from product-placed companies showed up to offer to help develop the products of the runners-up–except for Erik Thompson. Apparently no company thought The Catch was worthwhile, so instead producers brought ABC’s Dancing with the Stars participant Jerry Rice on to congratulate Erik.

Rarely has there been a show that started so strongly and ended so anticlimactically. Incredibly, producers took a brilliant concept and managed to completely fuck it up by not trusting their format and deciding instead to “tell stories” rather than just letting the stories unfold. They also screwed up basically every genuine moment by being heavy-handed and trying to manipulate viewers into responding emotionally.

The finale was even more pathetically fumbled than last week’s waste of time. For example, after the winner was announced, they pushed him aside to drag out a company rep to deal with the runner-up for a few minutes. And before that, excuse-for-a-host Matt Gallant announced the winner by saying, “The winner of American Inventor 2006 is…” Then he waited 12 excruciatingly awkward, silent seconds before saying Janusz’s name. Twelve. Any show that can make one appreciate Ryan Seacrest’s talent is definitely a disaster.

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.