USA Lets Inventors Take a Stab at Reality

USA Network will afford inventors incredible exposure and perhaps a vehicle to hawk their products through its new reality series, Made in the USA.

The series brings inventors/designers together in a mass audition to pitch their ideas, with the winner getting a chance to sell their creations on HSN.

While this could be just another stop on the reality bus to Has-Been-Town, U.S.A., these contestants aren’t chosen by looks, don’t have to eat maggots or plot against each other to win. Success evidently will land in the lap of the savvy inventor who can package and pitch a novel idea well.

As with some other talent-based shows, even those who don’t seal the deal on the winning episode will have the eyes and ears of American viewers who see something they want (or want to market).

The premiere installments’ cattle call rounded up people from across the country, passionate and hopeful of making their dreams come true with an innovative concept to 'wow’ the country.

A plastic stand to hold your head while you puke? Don’t quit your day job. A female dress heel with interchangeable fabric straps? Maybe. A lightweight combination carseat/stroller/carrier? Parents would camp outside of the store to buy that.

Personal interviews show teams of spouses, family members, friends and business partners anxiously anticipating the opportunity of their lifetimes. Many confess to draining savings and retirement accounts to market their product. One contestant is shown sleeping in his van during the first days of taping.

If USA gets the audience to tune in, viewers may be surprised — pleasantly at least for the first episode — to find out that someone a lot like them has invented something they want, can use or didn’t know they needed.

The panel of experienced judges including Joy Mangano, inventor of Miracle Mop and president of Ingenious Designs; Nolan Bushnell, CEO and founder of uWink Inc. who created early video game Pong and founded Atari Inc. and the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant chain; and industrial designer Karim Rahsid who develops furniture, lighting, fashion and art for clients including Tommy Hilfiger, Prada, Mikasa, Sony and Citibank.

Ken Mok (America’s Next Top Model, Making the Band) serves as creator/executive producer of the series. Todd Newton (Talk Soup, E! News Live), is the host.

Made in the USA bows on USA Network Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 10 p.m. EST/PST.