‘Shark Tank’ Producer Denies Reports That Most Deals Do Not Close Off-Air

Shark Tank, the Friday-night success on ABC, is set to start season 6 next week. In anticipation, Entertainment Weekly spoke with the “sharks” and a show producer about what viewers can expect this year. When questioned, producer Clay Newbill refuted an earlier report that two-thirds of Shark Tank deals do not get finalized after the process of due diligence, despite the on-air handshakes.

As recounted by EW, the statistic came from TJ Hale, who hosts the Shark Tank podcast. His statistic was picked up by other news outlets, including Bloomberg, BusinessWeek, and The Inquisitr. But Newbill asserts that simply isn’t the case.

“[T]hat percentage was based on a very limited sampling. The percentage of deals that have closed has steadily increased since season one. In our most recent season, nearly two-thirds of the deals actually closed.”

Newbill was less clear about whether entrepreneurs have to pay royalties to Shark Tank production companies ABC, Disney, and Sony as part of any successful deals. Newbill said only that final agreements are confidential and the production companies are not part of the due diligence process.

As for the sharks themselves, they were not shy about identifying each other’s strengths and weaknesses when speaking with EW. Robert Herjavec, for example, said they tend to make fun of Barbara Corcoran’s propensity to invest in entrepreneurs who “don’t understand [their] numbers,” but “she’s invested in businesses that none of us would’ve touched and she’s done very well with them.” Daymond John denied that Robert Herjavec is “warm and fuzzy,” encouraging readers to not “believe the crap.” Mark Cuban said all sharks have a similar weakness of trying to figure out how to get out of a pitch.

Barbara Corcoran was not interviewed for EW, but had meaningful insights for Entrepreneur, specifically about her trajectory toward a successful career despite being a “straight-D” student. She is one of three sharks who are dyslexic — John and Kevin O’Leary are the other two — and she thinks it helped her in the long run.

“It made me more creative, more social and more competitive. There’s a great freedom to being dyslexic… if you can avoid labeling yourself as a loser in a school system that measures people by As and Bs. And the kids that are so good at school, that don’t have to fight for it, very often they don’t do as well in life and business because they’re not flexible. There’s no system dictated to them out there like it is in school and they certainly tend not to make good entrepreneurs.”

Shark Tank‘s two-hour premiere will air on September 26.

[Image: ABC/Shark Tank]