Kenmore native Zach Anner is the kind of guy who loves to make people laugh. Wherever he goes, he always seems to find joy in bringing laughter to new people.
That's why Anner, 26, entered Oprah Winfrey's "Your OWN Show" competition about a year ago, and won his own television show. Anner, who has cerebral palsy, wanted to create a show that would reveal to people with disabilities that they can travel around the world.
Now, "Rollin' With Zach," which premiered in December, airs at 8 p.m. Mondays on the OWN Network. Anner, who attended Kenmore West High School, was in town recently to watch back-to-back episodes of his show with family and friends.
NeXt caught up with Zach's mom, Susan, who lives in Williamsville, about her son and his show.
>NeXt: Has Zach always had an interest in traveling?
Susan Anner: Yes, and he's done quite a bit of it.
>NeXt: When did you first hear about Zach's willingness to enter Oprah's contest, and how did you react?
Susan Anner: I actually told him about the competition and encouraged him to enter. He'd gone to film school and had been making films with his company in Austin, Texas, for several years before this opportunity arose. He already had done a treatment for his travel show and was seeking funding for it when the Oprah competition was announced.
>NeXt: How often do you hear from Zach about the progress of his show?
Susan Anner: The show was filmed over the summer and Zach came home to our house in Williamsville in between shoots, so I heard quite a lot. He also was here during post-production this fall, so the whole family was included in how things were going on a daily basis.
>NeXt: What is Zach's opinion on Oprah?
Susan Anner: He sees her as a role model in how she's used her celebrity to do a lot of good in the world. He enjoyed talking with her and hopes to hang out more and maybe get some nachos with her.
>NeXt: What was Zach like as a child? Did he like to make people laugh even then?
Susan Anner: Zach was always a goofball, which sometimes got him into trouble. He was always funny and enjoys life more than anyone I know.
>NeXt: Does Zach have any special plans for his show?
Susan Anner: He's looking for feedback on [the first season]. Then, if there is a next season, he's hoping to have more variety in the locations. This season focused on big cities in the U.S. He'd also like to visit national parks, small towns and other countries.
>NeXt: What is Zach's dream travel destination?
Susan Anner: I've never asked him that. Atlantis? He loved Rome and the south of France, so I know he wouldn't mind going back. And Bryce Canyon [in Utah], I think he'd really like it there.
Jesse Orrange is a freshman at Kenmore West High School.