FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Intel Joins the War on Art & Science by Canceling Season 2 of America’s G
Oakland, CA February 2, 2017
Cancel the Future, because for some mysterious and slightly ironic reason, the process of Making America Great Again isn’t going to include America’s Greatest Makers. Intel just announced to myself and 23 other disappointed teams of inventors and makers in an impersonal and unconciliatory email that they have canceled their plans to proceed with Season 2 of America’s Greatest Makers, just a few weeks before filming was about to begin and days after the Inauguration and first wave of Executive Orders were signed. So far there has been no announcement via public press release, their general mailing list or either of the AGM or Intel websites have been updated with this information.
In May of 2016 we were participating as an invited exhibitor at the San Francisco Bay Area Maker Faire where myself and a small team exhibited an interactive work of art which is a brain wave entrainment meditation chamber featuring experimental quantum computing technology which causes most participants to experience a state of extreme relaxation. It was here that Intel agents saw a line of people waiting up to an hour for our five-minute entertrainment experience and recruited us to apply to appear and compete on the show.
The design is what I call a Biodynamic Quantum Computing Platform and our proposal was to create a table-top version with EEG interface that also levitates and spins in response to human consciousness.
Could it be that we are the first casualties from the shots fired in a domestic political war against the thinkers and doers of America by signing executive orders that may include the defunding of Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)?
The producer of America’s Greatest Makers is Mark Burnett, who also produced The Apprentice and has had a long and close relationship with the now President. Needless to say, Mark Burnett is part of the Trump Camp regardless of the nature of their relationship. Burnett has even distanced himself from President Trump’s political campaign with public statements such as “Given all of the false media reports, I feel compelled to clarify a few points. I am not now and have never been a supporter of Donald Trump’s candidacy. I am NOT ‘Pro-Trump.’ Further, my wife and I reject the hatred, division, and misogyny that has been a very unfortunate part of his campaign.” Despite these comments, he was involved as a producer in the Presidential Inauguration ceremony and is co-producing Celebrity Apprentice along with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
At the end of the day, the success of any television program is largely determined by the viewership ratings. I could easily imagine someone from the Trump administration whispering inside information into the ear of Mark Burnett and/or Brian Krzanich, Intel’s CEO, that starting a big expensive TV show research project right now would probably not be a good idea. If filming had started on time, the initial two-week Intel training tech camp would have been completed by April and 24 camera crews would have been deployed throughout the country to follow and film the teams as they bring their dreams into fruition. 24 camera crews receiving pay and travel expenses as well as coordinated support and editing from the studio makes for a large production budget. This is not the kind of money any production company would risk knowing there was an eminent threat to their ratings.
Here are the last email communications between myself and the casting producer of the show.
Intel and MGM have spent the past few months making tweaks to the show and it sounds as if they are about ready to set film dates. This is extremely common in the second season of a new show, as they are always working to keep everything fresh and exciting. I will let you know the information soon. Thanks!
Kristen Mearns Casting Producer 11/30/16
This was seemingly good news with no indication at all that Intel is even considering not going through with production. A few weeks later we receive the below message notifying us that Intel has selected us to participate in the show. During previous conversations with the casting producers I was told that Intel’s approval was the final step in the process, but to potentially be prepared for last minute casting decisions.
I wanted to let you know that we are finally gearing back up to begin production on America’s Greatest Makers S2! In the time that we have been on hiatus, Intel made another round of cuts, and you have made it through to the next round of casting. Congrats! The next steps could move quickly, in the form of filling out some paperwork and final casting decisions being made by the network.
As of now, filming is set to take place around the end of February to the first week of April. We will not be filming with all teams at the same time, so you would not be required to be on location that entire time. We will lock in individual shoot dates once all casting decisions have been finalized.
Please let me know if anything has come up in this time that may conflict with filming and we will do our best to work with you. We’re very excited to have you still in consideration for the show.
Thanks so much!
Kristen Mearns Casting Producer 12/13/16
If there were internal reasons why the show was going to not happen it would have been well understood by this time. Expecting the next message from them to be details of our filming dates and travel plans, imagine my surprise when we discovered that not only will we not be participating, but nobody will.