American Candidate

American Candidate
Genre Reality show
Created by R. J. Cutler
Presented by Montel Williams
Composer(s) Christopher A. Lee
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 10
Executive producer(s) Jay Roach
Running time 60 min
Original network Showtime
Picture format NTSC
Original release August 1 – October 10, 2004

American Candidate is a political reality television show. The program aired for one season on Showtime in 2004, and was hosted by Montel Williams. It was created by documentary filmmaker R. J. Cutler, and produced by film director Jay Roach.


Paralleling the 2004 United States presidential election, the show featured contestants running as "candidates" in a mock campaign. Initially, the public could announce their "candidacy" on the show's website and garner support. Eventually, eleven contestants were chosen to appear on the show itself.

Each week, the contestants would compete in a politically themed challenge, coached by various political experts. The two contestants who fared the poorest each week would debate, and one would be eliminated (voted by the remaining contestants). For the final two episodes, the viewers voted, and eventually chose the final winner.


Throughout the series, the contestants traveled in a bus all over the United States, participating in various challenges, each modeled on real activities candidates for public office might expect to undergo:


In reverse elimination order:

  1. Park Gillespie (Conservative Christian, winner)
  2. Malia Lazu
  3. Lisa Witter
  4. Keith Boykin (gay rights activist)
  5. Bruce Friedrich (animal rights activist)
  6. Joyce Riley (Gulf War veterans spokesperson)
  7. Richard Mack (gun store owner)
  8. James M. Strock (Entrepreneur, Speaker, Former Public Official)
  9. Robert W. Vanech (entrepreneur, venture capitalist)
  10. Chrissy Gephardt (daughter of Dick Gephardt)

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