‘Shark Tank’ 2020 Season Will Debut Later Than Usual, Show How Small Businesses Navigating Coronavirus

The owner of Knife Aid on Shark Tank.
ERIC MCCANDLESS / ABC

Fans looking out for the 2020 premiere of Shark Tank will have to wait a bit later than usual, according to a new report. However, they will get the chance to see how small businesses are navigating a historic crisis.

As TVInsider reported, the Season 12 debut of Shark Tank will come on October 16, the latest in the fall that the show has ever started. Since shifting from an early winter debut after the third season and moving into ABC’s fall schedule, Shark Tank has normally started sometime around the third week in September. Only twice has the show started in October, and the latest in the fall that fans have ever had to wait to see the sharks compete for shares of promising companies was back in 2018 when the Season 10 debut took place on October 7.

As the report noted, this year’s installment will look a bit different as well. While the reality television program has always highlighted people rising up against long odds to make their companies successful, viewers will see even more in the coming year as Shark Tank highlights how they are weathering the coronavirus crisis.

“The entrepreneurs understand they are inspiring others by sharing their stories on how they have navigated the pandemic,” executive producer Clay Newbill told TVInsider, noting that many companies have already made online sales a bigger focus.

This installment will also show how innovative entrepreneurs are finding ways to help others during the pandemic, coming up with things like a hands-free door opener and a portable handwashing system. The program will also delve deeper into the personal stories of the people who launched the companies.

A picture of a business owner speaking on Shark Tank.
  ERIC MCCANDLESS / ABC

The landscape for smaller entrepreneurs has been treacherous, as many states instituted lockdowns and closures of non-essential businesses that led many to close for good. As The Inquisitr reported, Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary recently predicted that one-fifth of all small businesses in the United States will end up closing, with the travel, entertainment, and food service industries being hit particularly hard.

Speaking to Business Insider, O’Leary added that there will be a need for owners to think differently about how they deliver products and services to consumers.

“There is a change in consumer preference. Everybody’s still eating 2,200 calories a day, they’re just buying it a different way. Go support the way they’re buying it, the digital delivery,” he said, adding that those that survive will need to be “digitized” so that digital information and customer experience are major areas of focus.