Oprah Winfrey solicited videos from people who dream of having a TV show and had her fans view the videos online and vote. Now the finalists have been named for “Your OWN Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star” after more than 143 million votes were cast.
The original plan was to have five finalists, but OWN – the Oprah Winfrey Network debuting next January – said Friday that because of the overwhelming response the field has been expanded to eight from the online voting to appear at the final auditions in Los Angeles along with those selected from live open casting calls in New Jersey, Texas, California and Georgia.
Ten people (including at least one from the online auditions) will be selected to participate in the reality series “Your OWN Show,” presented by Kohl’s and premiering on OWN in January 2011. It will be a reality series in which contestants compete in a “host boot camp.” Challenges will range from booking interviews and researching story ideas, to successfully completing an actual screen test. The person selected as winner will receive a six-episode commitment for his or her own show, executive produced by Mark Burnett, and scheduled to premiere on OWN in 2011.
“The response was amazing with over 15,000 people having auditioned. Oprah Winfrey is such an inspiration and motivates people to seek their dreams. This response shows the enormity of those who wish to communicate their ideas on television,” said Burnett.
When auditions closed June 26th there were more than 9,500 online videos and more than 6,100 contestants who came to the open casting calls. Over 143 million votes were cast online and the results were carefully verified by a third party before the winners of the online competition were announced.
1. Jacqueline Wattimo of Waterton, MA with 9,360,096 votes.
2. Dr. Phyllis Tucker-Wicks of Tampa, FL with 8,453,803 votes.
3. Stacia Pierce of East Lansing, MI with 7,604,501 votes.
4. Kornelius Bascombe of Raleigh, NC with 5,856,075 votes.
5. Dr. Tony Roach of Abilene, TX with 3,842,648 votes.
6. Maria Holloway of Miami, FL with 3,796,219 votes.
7. Zach Anner of Austin, TX with 3,484,018 votes.
8. Jasbina Ahluwalia of Oak Brook, IL with 2,728,232 votes.