9 reality TV shows that will make you smarter about business

Shark tankABC‘Shark Tank’ is just the beginning.

If you look forward to Friday nights to watch new episodes of “Shark Tank,” you’re hardly alone.

Since it debuted in 2009, the reality TV show, in which aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to millionaire and billionaire investors, has developed something of a cult following.

Fortunately, there’s a lot more where “Shark Tank” came from.

Here, we’ve rounded up reality TV shows that will satisfy your need for drama — and make you savvier about business.

'Kitchen Nightmares': A chef takes the reins at a struggling restaurant.

Youtube/Kitchen Nightmares

Based on a UK TV series called 'Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares,' the Fox series 'Kitchen Nightmares' features chef Gordon Ramsay working with failing restaurants across the US. Ramsay makes suggestions about the menu, the staff, and the aesthetic, and the restaurant owners must decide whether to heed his advice.

After seven seasons, the series ended in May 2015. You can watch it on Hulu.

'Undercover Boss': Execs see a new side of their companies.

YouTube/Undercover Boss

It's every employee's nightmare. In the CBS series 'Undercover Boss,' a high-ranking exec or the company owner shows up to work disguised as an entry-level employee in order to learn how the business really functions. At the end of each episode, the boss reveals his or her identity, promoting deserving staffers and sometimes firing others.

The sixth season ended in spring 2015, and a seventh season has yet to be announced.

'Bar Rescue': A restaurant consultant does recon in failing bars.


In each episode of the Spike TV series 'Bar Rescue,' restaurant and bar consultant Jon Taffer helps bring a struggling business back to life. Taffer's team starts out by doing reconnaissance work at the bar to figure out exactly what needs to be improved, then works with the owners on making serious changes to salvage their business.

The series is currently in its fourth season.

'Shark Tank': Aspiring entrepreneurs try to woo investors.

The 'sharks' in the CNBC series 'Shark Tank' are millionaire and billionaire investors including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and FUBU founder Daymond John. In each episode, they're pitched by hopeful entrepreneurs and have to decide whether to buy stakes in their businesses.

The series showcases the very human element of business transactions: Whether deals get made depends heavily on the personality match between the entrepreneur and the investor.

The seventh season beings fall 2015.

'Beyond the Tank': What happens to 'Shark Tank' entrepreneurs after they score funding.

YouTube/Shark Tank Highlights

The best part of 'Shark Tank' happens after the credits roll. In 'Beyond the Tank,' the sharks mentor the entrepreneurs they're backing and teach them how to run a successful business. But there's always the chance that the sharks will find they made an unwise investment.

In May 2015, the series was renewed for a second season.

'The Profit': A millionaire CEO challenges himself to resuscitate a dying business.


Marcus Lemonis, CEO of the multibillion-dollar company Camping World, stars in the CNBC series 'The Profit.' He offers to buy a stake in struggling small businesses throughout the US so that he can help turn them around.

The fourth season begins November 2015.

'The Apprentice': Contestants try to impress a billionaire with their business savvy.

IMDB / NBC Universal

Before he was a presidential candidate, billionaire Donald Trump was the host of the NBC series 'The Apprentice,' in which business people vie for a contract to run one of Trump's companies. At the end of each episode, Trump tells one of the business people, 'You're fired.'

NBC recently announced that it was no longer associated with Trump, but will continue producing episodes of the show. The network hasn't yet revealed when season 15 will begin.

'Restaurant Stakeout': Restaurant staff get whipped into shape.


In the Food Network series 'Restaurant Stakeout,' Willie Degel, owner of Uncle Jack's Steakhouse, takes a hidden camera into a restaurant to see firsthand the problems they're experiencing. The show focuses on the restaurant staff, as opposed to the food they're serving, and Willie works to retrain them with more successful techniques.

The fifth season ended in 2014.

'Flip or Flop': How to turn a drab property into a gold mine.

YouTube/Flip or Flop

In the HGTV series 'Flip or Flop,' two real estate agents buy old homes in Southern California -- including homes in foreclosure and bank-owned properties -- and renovate them. Then they try to sell those homes for a huge profit.

The third season ended in 2015.

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