AN­NER Ad­vANcEs iN opRAh com­pE­ti­tioN

Austin American-Statesman - - SATURDAYBRIEFING - — Dale Roe

Aus­ti­nite Zach An­ner has ad­vanced to the next round in Oprah Win­frey’s con­test to find a new show and host for her up­com­ing Oprah Win­frey Net­work.

An­ner, the self-de­scribed “wheelchair­bound lady mag­net” with cere­bral palsy, pitched a travel show in his sub­mis­sion. That video be­came a vi­ral sen­sa­tion, at­tract­ing the at­ten­tion of fans in­clud­ing mu­si­cian

John Mayer.

Though An­ner had racked up more than 9 mil­lion votes, his to­tal was re­duced to al­most 3.5 mil­lion af­ter ver­i­fi­ca­tion. An in­de­pen­dent third party scoured the con­test’s Web servers, delet­ing votes that were cast through in­valid means and in­creas­ing the vote to­tals of some con­tes­tants by adding votes that were cast but blocked, said Beth Geb­hard, di­rec­tor of pub­lic­ity and com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the net­work.

An­ner even­tu­ally placed sev­enth, good enough to fly to Los An­ge­les later this month where he will com­pete against 39 oth­ers for a chance at one of 10 slots in a re­al­ity show that will de­ter­mine who gets his or her own pro­gram when the net­work launches in Jan­uary.

Zach An­ner

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