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Herc Says Mark Burnett’s SHARK TANK Trumps APPRENTICE!!

I am – Hercules!!
A compelling new reality show from producer Mark Burnett (“Survivor,” “The Apprentice”), ABC’s “Shark Tank” features fledgling entrepreneurs pleading for funds from “the sharks,” five multimillionaires – namely real estate titan Barbara Corcoran, infomercialista Kevin Harrington, techie Robert Herjavec, FUBU CEO Daymond John and venture capitalist Kevin O'Leary – looking for a good investment. Some of the sharks seem smarter than others but, significantly, all seem much smarter than “Apprentice’s” chief blowhard in charge Donald Trump. And the first episode, at least, doesn’t feel like a hour-long tuna commercial. Five entrepreneurs or teams of entrepreneurs make pitches in the first episode. Two separate pitchers, reflecting on some bad financial decisions, seem to teeter on the verge of tears mid-pitch. Deals are made, deals are altered, deals are rejected. Some of the sharks can be brutally frank. The first pitcher, literally a pie-man seeking close to half a million dollars, finds himself choked up by memories of having to live in a car for four months. The second pitcher, a fellow named Darrin Johnson, wants a million dollars for a 15 percent stake in a sci-fi device that would, I think, technically turn us into cyborgs. It freaks out the guy who got rich off the FUBU brand, but I have to admit – though I would not invest in Johnson’s particular product – I think he might be on to something. The third guy, Kevin Flannery, a former foster kid and former Marine from North Carolina, has something WiSpots, which he calls “the future of waiting patiently.” He gets emotional because he’s dipped into his kids’ college fund and can’t keep up with the two mortgages on his home. He comes in looking for $1.2 million for 10% equity position. Contestant four turns out to be a hot young blonde nanny from Auburn, Ga. looking for $50,000. She’s got an invention she’s tested successfully on the austistic kid for whom she’s been caring. The final team of contestants brings in university co-eds wearing tight clothes to pitch something called College Foxes Packing Boxes. The negotiations take a surprising turn. The term “pigs” is flung more than once. The stakes are high and I grew invested. Entertainment Weekly gives it a “B-plus” and says:
… The moneymen ask informed questions and make shrewd decisions, a welcome relief from Donald Trump's capricious calls on Burnett's Celebrity Apprentice. …
The New York Daily News says:
… a well-paced hour that offers entertainment without humiliation. …
The Chicago Sun-Times says:
… There are so many things I hate about his new show, "In the Shark Tank," that I started numbering them just to calm down. …
The Washington Post says:
… what sneaks up on you this time is the genuine poignancy of the proceedings and how deftly the show personalizes the desperation and pain experienced by victims of a broken-down economy. … O'Leary not only isn't sympathetic, he's hostile. "Don't cry about money," he barks. "It never cries for you." Hmmm. Mean, yes, but a bit of wisdom well articulated. Unfortunately, the cleverness of the remark is dissipated as the show continues and O'Leary says both "never laugh at money" and later, "never insult money." Now he's not clever, just repetitious -- a creep with the heart of a banker. …
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:
… Business buffs may love it, but "Shark Tank" lacks the lush visuals of "Survivor" and the star power of Trump. It just doesn't have the same bite. …
The Boston Herald says:
… a depressing display of some rich folks beating on the have-nots. … it’s wrenching to see someone’s life’s work summed up and disposed of so quickly. … “Shark Tank” deserves a cold grave deep in the ocean.
The Boston Globe says:
… There is something satisfying about seeing contestants shaken out of their high-flying reveries, and the subject matter provides some solid insights - though grossly simplified - into the mechanics of venture capitalism. But the show is like watching fish getting shot in a barrel. It offers up poor souls with harebrained schemes and makes merry sport of eviscerating them. There’s minimal room for us to empathize because the upshot of each business pitch - either a grim “I’m out’’ from each investor or some hastily configured deal - tells us little about whether anyone has actually won or lost. Numbers are bandied about, candidates shuffle off in a daze, and the Sharks are on to the next victim. …
Variety says:
… "Shark Tank" reminds us that swimming among these big fishes isn't for the faint of heart, but it finally sends a mixed message -- namely, that with a little drive, some dumb luck and a willingness to get bloodied, you too can become like the platitude-spouting jerks on the other side of the table. So is "Shark Tank" cathartic, or merely depressing? Perhaps appropriately, it's a little of both.
The Hollywood Reporter says:
… Brisk, sharp and surprisingly emotional for what essentially is a series of venture-capital-investment interviews, the show -- based on the Japanese format "Dragons' Den" -- balances the human element of its wish-fulfilling conceit with at least the illusion of the business legitimacy that made Burnett's "The Apprentice" such campy fun. …
“Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”: 8 p.m. Sunday. ABC. “The Shark Tank”: 9 p.m. Sunday. ABC.
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Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 9, 2009, 5:27 a.m. CST


    by the_mighty_boosh

    so this is just a slightly tweeked version of the uk program dragons den shown over here for sometime

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 5:33 a.m. CST

    Dragon's Den

    by DamnMichaelBay

    This is just an American version of the Dragon's Den... ...well, Dragon's Den is a very good show, at the least.

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 5:33 a.m. CST

    mighty you are

    by Iron-kong

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 6:34 a.m. CST

    Americans crying on TV

    by HoffmanPasander

    Fuck's sake; MAN UP. If you cried in Dragon's Den (the UK version) you'd be laughed out the door instantly. Imagine if you went to a bank and asked for a loan and started crying - same principle here. It's tiresome. Why can't Americans just stop being pussies on national television? They're always crying on Gordon's Kitchen Nightmares too.

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 9:12 a.m. CST

    Contestants crying

    by ThrowMeTheIdol

    They'd never choose contestants for their likelihood to get emotional and then edit the show to emphasize such moments, would they? Nah let's just accept things at face value.

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 9:19 a.m. CST


    by Stanton

    Dragon's Den is a one of the best and most intelligent programmes on the box, and I was always surprised the States didn't pick it up sooner: it's much more realistically about business sense and entrepreneurship than the apprentice - something stereotypically more US than UK. Sounds like the US hates it though: wonder why!

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 10 a.m. CST

    How is this shit entertaining?

    by F-18

    The Apprentice, too. I don't get the entertainment value of it.

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 11:05 a.m. CST

    Please, Mr. Rich Bitch, gimme some of that loot

    by kabong

    you stole with your Ponzi scheme.

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 11:58 a.m. CST

    In what way is this not Dragon's Den?

    by penhapus

    (skipping over the fact - as pointed out by Charlie Brooker - that Dragons have lairs, not dens)

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 12:06 p.m. CST

    Canadian televison not looking so bad now eh?

    by Angelus_420

    This is a complete rip-off of Dragon's Den and anyone that says it isn't either doesn't know what they are talking about or are a fool.

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 12:10 p.m. CST

    It's not a rip-off...

    by DamnMichaelBay

    ...because it's made by the same company that makes Dragon's Den.

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 12:58 p.m. CST

    Whether it's a rip off or not, it's just another

    by AlienDragQueen

    sign off shitty reality television pushing out good scripted television.

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 1:40 p.m. CST


    by torontoxic

    The Canadian one is just a rip off of the UK one. Canadian TV still sucks ass. Plus as pointed out this really is just the same Dragons Den guys using a different name with the same idea they had before.

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 1:52 p.m. CST

    Yes it's the Dragons' Den

    by ThrowMeTheIdol

    Officially so, not stealing the concept - buying it.

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 1:53 p.m. CST

    As THR points out, this didn't start in the UK

    by themikejonas

    It was originally a Japanese show. Would've loved to have seen that one for the cooky gadgets that were no doubt presented...

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 2:02 p.m. CST

    Dragon's Den is Japanese

    by Lloytron

    The UK version is excellent TV though. BTW didn't they make a US version of this already? I saw a clip of something called American Inventor on TV and it looked like a US Dragon's Den, complete with Peter Jones.

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 3:59 p.m. CST

    Dragons have dens not lairs? What are you smoking?

    by Yeti

    And where can I get some?

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 4:31 p.m. CST

    Since sharks are just eating machines,

    by kabong

    why would entrepreneurs be attempting to persuade them of anything? <P> Now, Mr. Shark, before you devour me senselessly, allow me to point out the benefits of the new improved Shamwow.

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 6:06 p.m. CST

    This is on ABC? FUCK!!!

    by lockesbrokenleg

    Isn't that the only station besides CBS making money these days? Don't they have shit like the Bachelor?

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 6:08 p.m. CST

    Also, this is just a rip off of Oprah's show

    by lockesbrokenleg

    from a few years ago.

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 10:13 p.m. CST

    Basically American Inventor v2.0

    by cookepuss

    That's not such a bad thing. Don't know how long the concept can last, but it should be a good couple of episodes.<p> <p> The shark I'd trust the least is that woman. She says everything with a smile and an eerie comforting tone. You just know that she's out to buy your soul at a wholesale price.<p> <p> The bald guy..... Well, he's a prick, but I think that he's the only honest guy of the bunch. Those guys were pigs and half of those people offered shitty ideas or deals.<p> <p> I'm a little surprised that this is on ABC though. It's a little cutthroat for the mouse. <p> <p> About the only thing missing in this show is pitting two pitches against the same stack of dough. That would make it a little more interesting, some head-to-head pitches.

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 10:29 p.m. CST

    "shitty reality television pushing out good scripted television"

    by Shermdawg

    What? Like the bajillion Law&Order, CSI:, and copycat shows? Ew.

  • Aug. 9, 2009, 10:32 p.m. CST

    Y'know, it's too bad Millionaire is just eleven days.

    by Shermdawg

    That, Shark Tank, and Pawn Stars on The History Channel made for the most enjoyable night of television I've had in awhile. Good stuff.

  • Aug. 10, 2009, 7:10 a.m. CST


    by clupula

    is what gets an article? But not True Blood or anything people might actually be interested in...

  • Aug. 10, 2009, 7:36 a.m. CST

    I was flipping channels when I saw this

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    It wasn't a bad way to relax and kill an hour, but the bald dude in the middle was clearly the designated asshole. It's funny how the rules of venture capitalism don't apply to him anymore, but you know he would have been doing the same stuff on the other side of the table when he started. This show was strangely interesting in several ways. The woman with the medicine dropper invention did not belong there, but on American Inventors. As stated, she didn't have a business, just an idea. All others had businesses. The ex-marine with the wi-spots for the doctors office was way off. With cell phones and blackberry's there is no way his business will go anywhere.

  • Aug. 10, 2009, 11:10 a.m. CST

    So a piece of crap remake of a British

    by Itchy

    reality show that has never aired gets a Talkback, but True Blood - one of the most original and viciously entertaining series on tv in the last decade, gets totally ignored ? That's about right. Can't wait for Herc's new Melrose Place remake talkback.

  • Aug. 10, 2009, 2:58 p.m. CST

    That bald guy's an a-hole who thinks money's a live person!

    by MrMysteryGuest

    And apparently too greedy for his own good!

  • Aug. 10, 2009, 2:59 p.m. CST

    "Don't insult money, 'cause it will kick your ass!"

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • Aug. 10, 2009, 3:01 p.m. CST

    Two of the guys are from the Canadian Dragon's Den

    by CDN_Wolf_eh

    Guess which two are from the Canadian version of Dragon's Den ... Kevin and Robert ... bet most American's woouldn't have guess that! :0

  • Aug. 10, 2009, 3:18 p.m. CST

    "Money will make you a burger, then fuck your wife!"

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • Aug. 10, 2009, 3:20 p.m. CST

    "Money will drive his car, then run you over...twice!"

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • Aug. 10, 2009, 3:21 p.m. CST

    "Money will play with your children and eat your food!"

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • Aug. 10, 2009, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Does every Dragon's Den have a bald guy?

    by kabong

    TV networks put maximum effort into copying trivial surface detail instead of (here's a concept) trying to produce a good show.

  • Aug. 10, 2009, 4:40 p.m. CST

    Another reality show gets TB time

    by turketron_2

    While a cool genre TV show gets snubbed. JAWESOME.

  • Aug. 10, 2009, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Isn't Trueblood based on a book series??

    by Iceman32_89

    Not sure how original that is...Yeah but this show is sure to blow only because for whatever reason the producers who bring these shows over here to the US like to pretty much scrap the concept that works and rework it until its unrecognizable.For Example Kitchen Nightmares

  • Aug. 11, 2009, 2 p.m. CST

    It's basically Dragon's Den US....

    by TheWaqman

    with a name-change. Considering the same company is producing this. And it's fairly entertaining.

  • Aug. 11, 2009, 2:01 p.m. CST

    True Blood deserves a talkback over Lost...

    by TheWaqman

    because it's actually a fun show. But clearly Lost gets the talkback since the show only feeds out retarded questions which all the dumb fanboys speculate on.