Shark Tank

Backstage Secrets Of ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ Reality Show

Every Friday night entrepreneurs step in front of the bright lights and cameras of ABC’s Shark Tank and pitch their ideas to a panel of potential investors known as ‘sharks’. The contestants attempt to convince one of the ‘sharks’ to make a deal, making an investment in the idea being pitched. Recently a few behind-the-scenes tid-bits have come out in interviews, pulling back the curtain just a little on the real on-set happenings of the show.

Mark Cuban spoke about Shark Tank during his recent South by Southwest keynote speech, and Business Insider has shared some of the show’s secrets from the biggest shark in the tank.

Likely one of the biggest controversies over “reality TV” these days is whether or not what you’re watching is real. When addressing whether or not Shark Tank is real, Cuban said that there was nothing scripted about what happens during the product pitches.

“It’s all real. There’s nothing fixed and nothing staged. Literally those deals go from 30 minutes for just stupid-a** ones to 2.5 hours for some people,” Cuban said.

Through the magic of television those 2.5 hour pitches are edited down and presented to the Shark Tank audience in much more TV friendly chunks. Cuban talked about having to deal with those long pitches, which are inevitably sometimes not completely legitimate.

“The people who are true entrepreneurs, I want to be as supportive as I can. I want to protect them against Kevin [O’Leary],” Business Insider quoted Cuban as saying.

“…There are some gold diggers, which is someone who’s just doing it for the PR and they have no intention of doing a deal. You can tell because [in one case], they had $600,000 in sales and they wanted $100,000 for 1% — some amount that doesn’t reflect the valuation.”

“And so knowing it’s going to be edited, I’ll rail into them and say like, “F*ck you, there’s NO WAY…” I love to mess with them.”

Also giving some insight to the behind-the-scenes workings of Shark Tank this week was former entrepreneur and show contestant Frank Scozzafava, designer of Mix Bikini, who struck a deal with Barbara Corcoran for his reversible bikini line.He spoke with CNBC about his experience onShark Tank.

Mix Bikini founders Frank Scozzafava and Adam DiSilvestro kiss Barbara Corcoran at the company's launch party.
Mix Bikini founders Frank Scozzafava and Adam DiSilvestro kiss Barbara Corcoran at the company’s launch party.

:They’re going to come after you, and if you stand there like a deer in the headlights, you’re not going to make a deal,” Scozzafava said Shark Tank producers told him. “So you need to get out there and you need to bite back, and you need to get feisty and you need to stand up for your idea and you need to give it back to them.”

Listening to that advice landed Frank his deal with Corcoran, after which he said much like the sharks, the studio does it’s due diligence in assuring the contestants don’t walk away traumatized.

“…They put you on a little golf cart and they take you through the studio, and they take you back to basically get debriefed by a psychiatrist,” he said. “To ask you questions like, ‘Do you feel any ill will towards the contestants?’ ‘Do you feel like you want to harm yourself?’ ‘Do you feel like you want to harm the contestants?'”

Obviously Frank was far from upset, as his appearance on Shark Tank launched his dream.

[Image via ABC, Sophie Versus Emily]

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