Shark Tank delivers every positive quality a television show is capable of bringing to an audience.
ABC’s Shark Tank is yet another brilliant, family-friendly creation from Mark Burnett, creator and producer of such family-friendly television hits as Survivor, The Apprentice, The Voice, The Sing Off, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader. Together with his wife, former Touched by an Angel star Roma Downey, Mr. Burnett has also produced the History Channel miniseries The Bible and the theatrical release Son of God. Currently, the Hollywood “dynamic duo” producers are preparing the miniseries A.D. (which will premiere on NBC on Easter Sunday), and the miniseries The Dovekeepers for CBS.
In the vein of The Voice and The Apprentice, Burnett’s program Shark Tank is genuinely fun programming – and it has many positive qualities in addition to being fun. The program is amusing, touching, educational, enlightening and entertaining.
The show’s concept is simple. Shark Tank offers entrepreneurs the possibility of financial assistance and strategic guidance on their path toward success in developing their own business. Small business owners appear before a panel of “sharks” – multi-millionaire business owners who have already achieved success – and try to interest the “sharks” in investing in their small business. Among the “sharks” are Dallas Mavericks owner and media mogul Mark Cuban; real estate investor and columnist Barbara Corcoran; technology entrepreneur Robert Herjavec; FUBU merchandise creator Daymond John; and software and investment expert Kevin O’Leary (nicknamed “Mr. Wonderful” by Cuban, for his blunt manner of speaking).
If they are successful in selling their product to one or more of the “sharks,” the contestant-entrepreneur gains a powerful new ally in financing and promoting their business…though the “sharks” drive a hard bargain, frequently pointing out flaws in the contestant’s business plan. This forces the contestants to use all their ingenuity in finding a bargain agreeable to both sides. Sometimes, in spite of their best efforts, all the “sharks” pass on making a deal; but this, too, is part of the suspense.
As with similar competition programs, much of the fun of Shark Tank comes from the bantering interaction between the panel of “sharks;” but this is by no means the whole story.
Shark Tank is definitely educational. The program is like a crash course in business school for would-be entrepreneurs. On Shark Tank, the attentive viewer can learn all about the worlds of business, and the financial and legal intricacies of deal-making and licensing, as well as the practical ends of manufacturing, merchandising, and marketing a product.
Shark Tank is exciting. In addition to the bantering and bickering among the “sharks,” and the sincerity, salesmanship, and persuasiveness of the contestants, there are always the questions: will the “sharks” make the deal? Will the contestant accept their terms? And if so, will the product succeed?
And even if all the “sharks” decline to make a deal, the contestant still wins – because both the contestant and their product has been featured and promoted on national TV. This greatly increases the possibility that the contestant will be able to attract another financial backer, who WILL be willing to work with them.
Shark Tank demonstrates what TV is truly capable of, and what it should be more often. Without graphic or gratuitous violence, sex, or profanity, it is a clever program which nurtures contestants and viewers alike. My mother and her sisters enjoy the program, as does my teenage daughter. In fact, whenever the opportunity arises, I watch Shark Tank with my mother and daughter together. How many programs are there like that on television today, which can be watched and enjoyed by three generations of viewers?
Shark Tank delivers every positive quality a television show is capable of bringing to an audience: it is fun, funny, exciting, entertaining, educational and inspirational. Through it, ambitious individuals with an idea have a chance to move ahead with their ideas, while we get to watch and share in their hopes, dreams, and triumphs. For this reason, I’m proud to award Mark Burnett and ABC’s Shark Tank the PTC Seal of Approval®.