America's Funniest Inventors?

Questions on How to Evaluate TV Shows Featuring Inventors and Inventions

© By Stephen Paul Gnass

Like many people, I've been watching Simon Cowell's new show "American Inventor" with bated breath. I had held out some hope that the show would be great and portray the inventor in a good light.

But that has been dashed week after week with the approach that Simon Cowell, his producers and ABC took.

Incidentally, I ran across a quiz that I developed 13 years ago because of several TV shows which at that time had been taking the similar cheap shot of exploiting the inventor and his/her invention. In going through some old files, I found this evaluation form that I wrote and distributed in 1993.

It's as pertinent today as it was then. Since there will always be opportunists, I thought that the questions might help inventor organizations and inventors in evaluating whether they should participate in any current or future TV shows or productions.

Here's the URL:

It's in PDF format and can be opened and read with Adobe Reader which is a free program. If you don't already have this program, you can download it free at: Many ebooks are designed for this program, so you'll find it very useful if you don't have it yet!

In summary, I hope this tool helps you and our friends in the invention industry.

Please feel free to print it and pass it along. If it's reprinted, please be sure to give proper credit.

Stephen Paul Gnass is founder of, Executive Director of the National Congress of Inventor Organizations [NCIO] and an inventors advocate. Mr. Gnass speaks on the subject of the "Business of Inventing" [tm] and has had his articles reprinted in various magazines. As Senior Consultant with the Gnass Group, he consults independent inventors and small businesses. He can be emailed at or visit

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