After the Top 10 contestants, originally chosen from online audition tapes, were winnowed down to Kristina Kuzmic-Crocco, a 31-year-old mother of two from Alhambra, Calif., and Zach Anner, a 26-year-old film student in Austin, Texas, Winfrey gave them both the prize.
Each will get their own show on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
“Both of you have given your heart and the truth is that both of you really deserve to have your own show,” Winfrey said. “I’m going to make that happen.”
Anner, who has cerebral palsy, was an early favorite among online voters, who helped his submission go viral with more than 9 million votes. He was even championed by singer John Mayer for his witty entry, in which he declared his “the sexiest of the palsies.”
On the final episode of “Your OWN Show,” Anner produced and pitched a pilot for his travel show “Rollin’ Around the World with Zach Anner.”
“I want to show people how they can get around on a budget cause I have some problems myself getting around, but not everybody has one of these things,” Anner said, referring to his power wheelchair. “So it’s a show for everybody that just shows them that you can see a place as long as you have the right attitude and then when things go wrong, you just adapt and have fun with it.”
Winfrey had initial reservations over whether or not Anner could keep up with the demands of television, but he quickly allayed them, proving that “the wheelchair doesn’t come first,” Winfrey said.
Anner joked that he was so thrilled about his win that he could do backflips. “I won’t show you, but I could do them,” he said. “I guess I’m going to need a map and some travel brochures because we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
The Croatian-born Kuzmic-Crocco has plans for a cooking show. “I want to literally grab people out of their seats in a fast-food restaurant and introduce them to their stove and make them friends really fast!”
Both shows will air on OWN this summer.
See How It Came Down to the Final Three