Last night the hit ABC reality television show Shark Tank aired its 100th episode, making it the highest rated show of the night with an average rating of 1.7, among adults 18-49 years old. Shark Tank, now on its sixth season, is amongst the top most watched reality shows on television, to date. The shows panel usually consists of such millionaire and billionaire venture capitalists as Kevin O’Leary, Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Herjavec, and Lori Greiner, and has even featured Kevin Harrington and Jeff Foxworthy. After its premier in 2009, the show almost immediately gained fame, featuring revolutionary new inventions and companies that allowed Shark Tank to change the game of reality television.
Shark Tank got its start after being inspired by the hit Canadian reality show Dragons Den, which had its roots in Japan and was essentially the same premise. Dragons Den, which also starred investors Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec, was wildly successful in Canada. O’Leary and Herjavec are both venture capitalists who got to their positions by starting at the bottom and working relentlessly until eventually building their businesses into empires.
It wasn’t long before Dragons Den became a hit in Canada and sparked an idea that would spread around the reality television world like a wild fire. With the success of reality television over the last few decades and the success of Dragons Den in Canada, it was no doubt that a similar show would be a hit in a country that was built on innovative small businesses.
In an interview, O’Leary stated that early on in his career as a venture capitalist, he quickly realized the power that television wielded over every other form of advertising and knew that he wanted to use it as a tool for building his portfolio. Shark Tank not only benefits the entrepreneurs pitching their businesses to these venture capitalists, but the investors as well, changing the game for them and giving them unlimited access to new investing opportunities that they may never have had prior to Shark Tank.
Due to the success of Shark Tank and the ability it has to expose small businesses that are looking to expand into bigger versions of themselves—small businesses are once again flourishing in America. From new food products to unique inventions to technologically advancing Internet start-ups, Shark Tank is allowing small businesses the opportunity to go from being guppies in the business sea to being blue whales in the corporate ocean.
For a long time in America, especially with the advancement of eCommerce, big businesses have been evolving into gigantic mega-companies that dominate nearly every market—selling everything from toilet paper to rifles. Shark Tank has changed the game for small businesses, giving them another outlet to raise money and grow their companies—all the while helping to stimulate the economy, as well. Due to the success of Shark Tank, both Portuguese and Australian versions of the show, using the same format, are rumored to be released in 2015.
By Robert Masucci