Kevin O’Leary has been a ubiquitous presence on television screens during the past few years, especially in Canada. In addition to his middle seat on the Shark Tank panel, he was also a featured investor on Dragons’ Den and foil to Amanda Lang on The Lang & O‘Leary Exchange. The latter two are both properties of the CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster.
Now, the CBC is reporting that O’Leary is stepping back from the Exchange, a few short months after he called it quits on Dragons’ Den. Although the CBC release says O’Leary has left to “pursue new opportunities,” the National Post says O’Leary’s move is to CBC’s rivals CTV and BNN, both owned by Bell Media. The Post calls it a return for O’Leary, who left BNN in 2009 to join Lang on the CBC program.
The Post also suggested the move might be the result of O’Leary’s association with Shark Tank, which airs on ABC in the U.S. but CTV in Canada.
When O’Leary announced his departure from Dragons’ Den, on which he had been a presence since the show’s first season and prior to the development of Shark Tank, he said he simply didn’t have time to do it all.
He told the Financial Post in April:
“At some point, you run out of runway and that’s what happened. I’ve also been on CBC’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange for more than a decade and that’s been an important platform for me. So it wasn’t so much a Shark Tank/Dragons’ Den conflict as it was how do I make it possible to keep my daily commitment to Lang & O’Leary.”
In that interview, O’Leary also said he had set up a company to manage his 26 Dragons’ Den, Shark Tank and private equity investments.
O’Leary follows fellow shark Robert Herjavec in his departure from CBC. Herjavec, like O’Leary, is a former Dragons’ Den investor. The pair was involved in an infamous Dragons’ Den deal gone wrong, which was documented by the CBC cameras and featured Herjavec dramatically tearing up a certified check just as the deal was about to close. The video is embedded in a previous Inquisitr report on Shark Tank.
The CBC release said Amanda Lang will receive a new business program to host. Lang gave her former co-host high praise:
“I’ve really enjoyed working with Kevin and will miss the daily battle of wills. I have the greatest respect for Kevin and wish him all the success in the world.”
O’Leary praised the CBC in a statement upon his latest departure:
“After working with the CBC for the last eight years, I truly appreciate what a national treasure this institution is. I’m proud to have been part of its expanding role as a place where ideas that matter to Canadians can be debated from all sides.”
O’Leary’s new role on BNN has not yet been disclosed. Shark Tank is due back on ABC in September.
[Kevin O’Leary Image: Google]