History Channel and it's dueling cousin, Discovery Channel, seem to be cannibalizing each other shows' premises in a race for ratings...History has American Pickers and Pawn Stars, while DC has Mythbusters, Sons of Guns and American Chopper. The shows always seem to have at least two main guys, with kinda different personalities, playing off each other while they shlepp their way through the show. History Channel's new tube spawn is called Invention USA.
Reichart Von Wolfsheild and Garrett Lisi are the two guys...Reichart is the quick talking marketing whiz and Garrett is the mild mannered physics guru (not cut out for acting) to play off of him. They go on the road to scary Americana to hopefully find some gold nuggets where most people are too afraid to venture. They either have the wanna be's come to their "barn" or they'll hit the road and meet with people that are more similar to Ted Kaczinski than Steve Jobs. Like the other inventions shows, the featured inventor dudes (no dudettes so far) have what they believe to be a game changing inventions and need seed money from Reichart and Garrett's investors for a fast kick start (maybe they really need a kick in the pants).
I've seen a couple of the first episodes and my basic impression is that the hosts and History Channel are scraping the bottom of the barrel for real game changing inventions. There is some magic in the inventions covered, that is for sure, but most inventions provide a solution to something that is not really a problem for the masses. Fundamentally, these products do not have a large target market with any solid sales potential.
The only shimmer of hope I saw, was the phone glove, which uses blue tooth technology to allow the user to use the end of their pinky for a microphone and the end of their thumb as the cell phone speaker (think lipping the words "Call me!" with your hand to your head). This one maybe has some potential in the market place...With some great snake oil ASOTV marketing and a little lucky product timing, it could be quirky enough to be the next Snuggie.
Producers for the show seem to focus on featuring the eccentric inventors...most so lazy with their own inventions that they can't see the forest through the bark-beetle infested trees. They might have a gem waiting to be found in the mines, but all seem to invest little of their own time or money trying to make it become reality...and just want to be paid handsomely for coming up with it...much the way a lottery player is hoping for the big lotto win after investing a measly Washington or a five spot Lincoln after gassing up the van. Inventing takes a lot of time, perseverance and determination..usually qualities that these people don't possess.
Check it out for yourself...and see what kind of inventor you are...or are not...
Invention USA premiered last Friday, December 9th, but you can catch new episodes Fridays at 10/9c