Bulb photo by Knu†.  Click for larger image and license info.Update: The winner has been anounced. Click here to find out who won!

As the first season of ABC’s American Inventor approaches it’s close many are wondering about its future.

Despite my initial disappointment after the premier I have to say it’s been enjoyable watching the inventors grow. That’s the bright side, but after suffering through the laborious and repetitive rehashing of some of the inventions that didn’t make it and back-story of the ones that did I still maintain they could do better.

A different format

Imagine this for a moment. Season 2 begins like season 1. The format for the search is the same and I’m sure more, better, and worse inventions will show up. Yes, the search should be a freak show that even your local RadioShack would be proud of. Riding the wave of the first season we should be able to get something on the order of a ham radio club to the power of a Star Trek convention on the sketch-o-meter.

Week 1: Those chosen in the initial search will refine their pitches and products within their own means and present again. Cut several.

Week 2: Continuing competitors will be given a modest sum and/or the availability of some professional help to improve their products or, in the case of more elaborate products show how the product could be improved and taken to market. Cut several more.

Week 3: A change of pace. Small teams are formed, given a modest budget, and each team must improve an existing product for, say, the kitchen. Cut the weakest team.

Week 4: Again, improve an existing invention. Now individuals compete to improve an existing product for the office. Cut several.

Week 5: High speed invention. Individuals must invent and present a brand new product, including researching the market space and confirming that the invention does not already exist.

Week 6: Advance new inventions. Groups are formed and must choose one of their individual inventions from the previous week to improve.

Week 7: Create a commercial for your initial invention.

And so on… You get the idea. This combination would not only highlight the American inventor’s ideas, but also their skills and teamwork. Yes, there is great value to fully developing an invention, but a professional inventor must be able to work individually or on a team. They must be able to step back from one task to tackle another.

So will there be a season 2? Hard to tell. ABC has a little blurb about casting for next season, but interestingly it links to americaninventor.tv. I wonder if ABC is trying to decouple the American Inventor web content from their network site with the idea of unloading the show on another network.

Americaninventor.tv has the following, very tentative announcement regarding auditions for season 2:

DID YOU MISS YOUR CHANCE TO AUDITION FOR THE FIRST SEASON?

If we head out on a second search, we want to make sure you don’t miss out. Sign up now and we’ll contact you when we’re getting ready to hit the road again.

The competition is open individuals or teams of inventors.

The product must be something that can be mass produced and sold in a retail outlet.

You can come with a sketch, a prototype or even just an idea.

Meanwhile all we can do is hope season 2 is more content than recap.

entertainment, innovation, inventing, invention, inventor, reality television, reality tv, television, tv, american inventor, abc