Are you an ambitious businessman who’s been denied bank funding for your big idea? What better way for you to lose your last shot at getting the capital you need to start your business than on national TV?
That could be the unfortunate result of Mark Burnett’s new reality series, Shark Tank, recently picked up by ABC for seven episodes. The show is based on the popular British show Dragon’s Den and involves ambitious entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas to five multimillionaire tycoons who will decide whether to invest their own money in the venture.
But where, we wondered, would they find five multimillionaires, let alone ones willing to participate in this spectacle? As expected, most of the “sharks” aren’t household names:
THR: The sharks include Robert Herjavec (who made his fortune in Internet security systems), Kevin Harrington (infomercials), Barbara Corcoran (real estate), Kevin O’Leary (well-known Canadian investor) and Daymond John (FUBU sportsware).
Burnett and ABC, in their first collaboration, hope the current economic climate will make the show a hit.
“People are looking to be entrepreneurs to get ahead, yet there’s no way anybody can go into a bank right now and get a loan,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “For these entrepreneurs, these sharks are their last stop.”
Which is why we’re hoping that the series, which will reportedly focus on the drama of pitch meetings and the interaction between the entrepreneurs and tycoons will be more Extreme Home Makeover-uplifting and less Deal or No Deal-exploitative.
Fortunately, based on the pilot episode, it seems like at least some episodes might have very happy endings:
“We have made bigger deals and more deals in our pilot than (other versions) make all season,” Burnett said. “What country on earth is more entrepreneurial and risk taking than the United States of America? Here we have businesses and jobs being created, and it’s a great feeling.”
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