Oprah be darned! Zach Anner starts his own travel show on YouTube

Zach-AnnerAfter rocketing to internet stardom thanks to his audition video for Oprah Winfrey’s Your OWN Show reality TV series — and unwittingly finding himself in the middle of a possible vote-rigging kerfuffle (see below) — the irrepressibly charming Zach Anner has taken his idea for “a travel show for people who never thought they could travel” to YouTube. Anner, who has cerebral palsy (which he calls “the sexiest of the palsies”), posted a series of videos about his current home town of Austin, Tex. back in June. But since he didn’t really need to travel all that far to shoot it, we’re counting the episode he posted Aug. 4 of his tour of Niagara Falls as the true series premiere of Zach in the Buff. And it is awesome. Check it out after the jump.

I’m not sure what part I enjoyed the most: Anner marveling at Buffalo, N.Y.’s fine railings, his assertion that Niagara Falls itself is a conceptual art created in 1929 for the Guggenheim, or his determination to run over a seagull. But I do know for certain that I can’t wait to see the next episode.

As for Your OWN Show, on July 9 Anner was named one of eight Web finalists who nominally get to audition for 10 contestant slots on the reality competition series, which launches on Oprah’s OWN cable network in January, 2011 — but voting irregularities still seem to haunt this endeavor. Pay attention; this gets oddly complicated. The main page of the show’s website reports that Anner has 9.2 million votes and first place, while the page with the “official” count — i.e. the count that determines who will go on to compete for a slot on the actual TV show — gives Anner 3.5 million votes and seventh place, a drop of almost 6 million votes. Official first-place finisher Jacqueline Wattimo, meanwhile, has 2.3 million more votes than what’s listed for her on the main page.

When reached today for comment, a spokesperson for OWN tells EW that a third party (which the rep declined to reveal) reviewed the entire pool of votes, and discovered that some tabulated votes (like many of those for Anner) violated the contest rules and were discarded, while other votes that had been initially discarded (like many of those for Wattimo) were in fact valid and were added back to the official count. (The official rules of the contest state that “use of any computer auto-voting software or any other software or device intended to tamper with the proper functioning of the voting system and use of any other means to subvert the voting process is strictly prohibited and all such votes will be void.”) The rep stresses that while the top eight did change rank, they all remained in the top eight, and have been going through the standard audition process for the show. However, the rep also noted that only one finalist from the top five is guaranteed a contestant slot on the series. Get all that?

Regardless of whether Anner makes it on to Your OWN Show, PopWatchers, after watching his tour of Niagara Falls, what do you make of his chances as a travel show host? Will you be eagerly clicking in to see his next episode?

Comments (20 total) Add your comment
  • Lesfull

    My favorite part is when he manages to connect Niagra Falls to Kevin Bacon. Awesome.

    • Hellen

      Agreed… that made me laugh out loud.

  • thuha

    that’s a seagul and i am giong to run it over, hahah!

  • rees


  • g

    Oregon Trail! I used to love that game.

  • chris

    Oprah is nothing but a liar

    • This Guy

      Of course Anner would lose to a black woman, this is Oprah whos running the show, she’d never let a male win.

  • cla

    Niagara Falls-Niagara River-The River Wild-Kevin Bacon!

  • Daphalina

    I love him! I’m proud that he is a fellow Austonian, I heard about him on a local site here. I would absolutely watch his travel show! I also have a special appreciation because my husband is disabled, so I love that he is bringing some knowledge about the challenges of travel and access to others (in a really silly, fun way).

  • rees

    this guy is pretty much made of all sorts of awesome. i’d watch him if he decided to be the male martha stewart.

  • anthony

    pretty awesome… and quite humorous… i wonder if he wrote all the material himself

  • chrisconcert

    i like him and he’s hot for a dude in a wheel chair.

    • cocosnow

      you got that right ;)

  • Katja

    I love this guy forever and ever!! He’s both hilarious and adorable. But man, he must be exhausting to hang out with – all that exuberance!

  • da

    Go Zach!
    You rock! :)

  • Crystal

    Very funny. I love how he says like the SIGN is going to dissaude him – ha!

    • Lesfull

      Don’t forget that there is also a $500 fine!

  • cruzilla

    Food is an artifact in Spain??

  • pinky

    Wow, too funny. “Look at those brushstrokes!” Zach is a rock star.



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