Over 8,000 video entries have been submitted for Oprah's Your OWN Show contest, which aims to find a talk show host for her new TV network starting in 2011. Right now, the leading contestant is a guy named Zach Anner, who has gotten crazy support from the Internet, including Reddit, 4chan, and John Mayer's personal blog. Zach is 25 and has cerebral palsy.
The contest has been the subject of a pretty widely reported vote rigging controversy — Zach went from having several thousand to several million votes in a matter of hours, and shortly thereafter, another contestant named Dr. Phyllis surpassed him in an equally unrealistic surge in votes, triggering rumors that the network was trying to vote Zach out because they didn't want a disabled guy hosting their new show.
Last week, the Geekosystem did a post about the 4chan vote rigging plot, which includes a screen grab where one user describes how to rig the vote. It seems that, in one of those seemingly random acts of goodwill, the 4chan community decided to rally behind Zach and try to make him win.
Meanwhile, Zach made a follow-up video thanking the Internet for supporting him. "I don't know what happened, but the Internet is crazy!" he says, thanking 4chan, Reddit, Digg, and John Mayer. ("I know my body is a wonderland, but I don't know why you would be interested in me.)
Zach is funny, without a doubt — to me, he seems like a guy who has embraced his disability and uses his own identity to create comedy (as do most other comedians). He has over 8.8 million votes right now; Dr. Phyllis has 6.8 million. You can vote for him (or any other contestant) here through July 3rd.
(Thanks, Sean Bonner, for the tip!)