Shark Tank

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For the Australian television series, see Shark Tank (Australian TV series). For the arena in San Jose, California, see SAP Center at San Jose.
Shark Tank
Shark Tank Logo.jpg
Genre Reality
Created by Mark Burnett
Based on Dragons' Den
Directed by
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 137 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Camera setup Multiple-camera
Running time 42 minutes
Production company(s)
Original network ABC
Picture format 720p (16:9 HDTV)
Audio format Stereo
Original release August 9, 2009 (2009-08-09) – present
Related shows Beyond the Tank
External links

Shark Tank is an American reality television series that premiered August 9, 2009, on ABC.[1] The show is a franchise of the international format Dragons' Den, which originated in Japan in 2001. Shark Tank shows aspiring entrepreneur-contestants make business presentations to a panel of "shark" investors, who then choose whether or not to invest.

The show is currently in its seventh season, and has been a ratings success in its timeslot. It has also won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Structured Reality Program twice. Two further adaptations of the Dragons' Den format, one in Australia and one in Portugal,[2] have been named Shark Tank. A third, an Italian version, was announced but has not aired.[3]


Shark Tank is produced by Mark Burnett and based on the international format Dragon's Den, which originated in 2001 with the Japanese show Tigers of Money.[4] The show, however, more closely resembles the format of the British version, Dragons' Den, which premiered in 2005.[5][6][7][8] The show features a panel of potential investors, called "sharks," who consider offers from aspiring entrepreneurs seeking investments for their business or product.[4][9] The sharks are paid for their participation in the show, but the money they invest is their own.[10] The entrepreneur can make a deal on the show if a panel member is interested. However, if all of the panel members opt out, the entrepreneur leaves empty-handed.[11] The show is said to portray "the drama of pitch meetings and the interaction between the entrepreneurs and tycoons."[12] A one-hour pitch by a contestant is edited down to "a dramatic 10-minute segment."[13]

Two of the show's longstanding "sharks", Robert Herjavec and Kevin O'Leary, are Canadian entrepreneurs who had previously appeared on the Canadian version of the show, Dragons' Den.

The "sharks" often find weaknesses and faults in an entrepreneur's concept, product, or business model.[11] Some of the investors try to soften the impact of rejection, like panel member Corcoran, while others such as O'Leary can be "brutal" and show "no patience even for tales of hardship".[11]

Many, and possibly a majority, of the deals made on the show are never enacted, due to the investors' vetting process following the deal, which includes product testing and the examination of the contestants' personal and business financials.[14] In some cases, the enterpreneurs themselves have backed out of the deal after admitting that they only wanted to appear on the show for the publicity.[15]

The show initially required each contestant to sign an agreement with Finnmax, the producer of Shark Tank, promising Finnmax the option of taking a "2 percent royalty" or "5% equity stake" in the contestant's business venture.[16] However, in October 2013, this requirement was repealed by the network, retroactively, due to pressure from panel member Mark Cuban.[17] Cuban felt the requirement would lower the quality of the entrepreneurs, as savvy investors would be wary of trading away a portion of their company just for appearing on the show.[16] A number of potential participants have declined to appear on the show for this reason.[18]


Shark Tank premiered in August 2009 and aired 14 episodes through January 2010. In August, it was renewed for a second season. Season 2 premiered with a "sneak peek" episode on Sunday, March 20, 2011, before resuming its regular Friday night time slot on March 25, 2011. Season 2 had 9 episodes, 5 of them featuring new panel members. Comedian Jeff Foxworthy[19] and Mark Cuban replaced panel member Kevin Harrington in those episodes.[20] In season 2, Kevin O'Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John, and Robert Herjavec appeared in all 9 episodes; Mark Cuban appeared in 3, Kevin Harrington in 4, and Jeff Foxworthy in 2.[21]

Shark Tank's third season premiered in January 2012.[22][23] During the second season, Kevin Harrington was replaced by Mark Cuban, while in the third season, the "queen of QVC" Lori Greiner replaced Barbara Corcoran on 4 episodes. Kevin O'Leary, Daymond John, Robert Herjavec, and Mark Cuban appeared in all 15 episodes of season three. In February, ABC ordered two additional episodes for season 3 using unaired footage, which brought the season's episode total to 15.[24] On May 10, 2012, Shark Tank was renewed for a fourth season consisting of 26 episodes.[25] This is the first time the series received a full season order.[26] Filming began on June 30, 2012. According to TV Guide, as of December 2012, the show's panel members had invested $12.4 million in the business opportunities presented to them during that season. Those whose business ideas did not result in an investment from the sharks still benefited from the publicity generated by that contestant appearing on the show. During the show's 2012 season, 36,076 people applied to become contestants.[7]

In 2013, ABC renewed the show for a fifth season.[27] Season 5 premiered on September 20, 2013.[28] In October 2013, ABC ordered an additional two episodes for the season. In December 2013, ABC ordered another four episodes, bringing the season order to 29 episodes.[29][30] Steve Tisch and John Paul DeJoria were added as panel members.[31][32] In 2013, CNBC licensed exclusive off-network cable rights for the series from ABC.[33] In May 2014, ABC announced a sixth season starting in September 2014.[34] The series began its syndication run on CNBC on December 30, 2013.[35]

The seventh season of the show premiered on Friday, September 25, 2015.[36] Actor/investor Ashton Kutcher, music manager/CEO Troy Carter, and venture investor Chris Sacca all appeared as guest sharks.[37][38]

Beginning with season five, the Sharks' Twitter addresses were displayed during the introduction.

Timeline of Sharks[edit]

Sharks Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Kevin O'Leary Main
Barbara Corcoran Main
Daymond John Main
Robert Herjavec Main
Mark Cuban Guest Main
Lori Greiner Guest Main
Kevin Harrington Main
Jeff Foxworthy Guest
Steve Tisch Guest
John Paul DeJoria Guest
Nick Woodman Guest
Ashton Kutcher Guest
Troy Carter Guest
Chris Sacca Guest

Critical reception[edit]

For the first season, the series saw a mostly mixed to positive reception. Josh Wolk of Entertainment Weekly wrote, "The moneymen ask informed questions and make shrewd decisions, a welcome relief from Donald Trump's capricious calls on Burnett's 'Celebrity Apprentice.'"[39] Heather Havrilesky from Salon (website) said that "ABC's Shark Tank is easily the best new reality TV show to air this summer."[40] Tom Shales of The Washington Post wrote, "It sounds gimmicky and visually tedious, with most of the so-called action taking place in a conference room. It's all those things, but the moments of misery make it memorable."[11] Shales, noting that the series was premiering during an economic recession, and that many of the aspiring entrepreneurs had poured significant amounts of money into their businesses, praised "how deftly the show personalizes the desperation and pain experienced by victims of a broken down economy."[11] And David Hinckley of the New York Daily News said, "Once you get past its somewhat misleading title, Mark Burnett's new Shark Tank is a well-paced hour that offers entertainment without humiliation."[41]


By 2012, the show averaged over 6 million viewers an episode. It is the most watched program on Friday nights in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic. As a result, ABC added three more episodes to the original season order of 22.

Season Timeslot (EST) Number of Episodes Premiere Finale TV Season Overall Ranking Overall viewership
Date Viewers
Date Viewers
Friday 9:00 pm
August 9, 2009
February 5, 2010
4.65 2009–10 #102 4.81[42]
Friday 8:00 pm
March 20, 2011
May 13, 2011
4.99 2010–11 #113 5.12[43]
January 20, 2012
May 18, 2012
5.52[45] 2011–12 #98 6.03[46]
Friday 8:00 pm
Friday 9:00 pm
September 14, 2012
May 17, 2013
6.68[48] 2012–13 #63 6.92[49]
Friday 9:00 pm
September 20, 2013
May 16, 2014
6.74[51] 2013–14 #51 8.02[52]
September 26, 2014
May 15, 2015
7.04[54] 2014–15 #55 9.137 [1][55]
September 25, 2015
May 2016
TBA 2015–16 TBA TBA

Awards and nominations[edit]

To date, Shark Tank has won two Emmy Awards, and has been nominated for three others. Shark Tank was nominated for Outstanding Reality Program in 2012 and 2013, losing both times. In 2014, the Emmys' "Reality Program" award was split into two awards, one for "Structured Reality" and one for "Unstructured Reality", and Shark Tank has won the "Outstanding Structured Reality Program" award in both 2014 and 2015.[57][58]

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
2012 Shark Tank Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program Nominated
2013 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program Nominated
2014 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Structured Reality Program Won
2015 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Structured Reality Program Won
2012 Critics Choice Television Award for Best Reality Series - Competition Nominated
2013 Critics Choice Television Award for Best Reality Series - Competition Nominated
2014 Critics Choice Television Award for Best Reality Series - Competition Won
2015 Critics Choice Television Award for Best Reality Series Won
2014 Image Award for Outstanding Reality Series Nominated
2015 Image Award for Outstanding Reality Series Nominated
2015 USA Kids' Choice Awards Blimp Award for Favorite Reality Show Nominated
2013 PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television Nominated
2014 PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television Nominated
2015 PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television Nominated
2013 Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming Won
2014 Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming Nominated
2015 Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming Nominated

Beyond the Tank[edit]

ABC launched a companion series, Beyond the Tank, which shows the current state of companies that appeared on Shark Tank, including both those that made a deal and those that were rejected by investors.[59] Two seasons of Beyond the Tank have aired so far, one in 2015 and one in 2016.

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]