If you’re a fan of “Shark Tank,” part of the reason you like the show is the appeal of the basic concept. Who can resist the appeal of ordinary Joes, pitching their fledgling businesses to a group of rich panelists. But Shark Tank has a bit of a funky history, and there have always been rumors about what happens behind the scenes.
What Cuban Says
Mark Cuban has been one of the most prominent cast members on the show for years, and the billionaire definitely walks the walk when it comes to the wealth he’s accumulated.
Cuban claims the show is totally legit. He says that concepts and ideas are reviewed months in advance, which sounds fair, although he might be stretching the truth when he claims the panelists know nothing about the deals that are going to be presented to them.
The Counter Claims
Now let’s get to the juicy stuff. Some of the ideas pitched on Shark Tank sound beyond ludicrous, and Cuban acknowledges that some of the presenters have been known to “embellish” a little when it comes to the financials of their business.
Forbes interviewed the owners of 319 business owners who did deals on Shark Tank in the first seven seasons of the show. Of those 319 owners, 73% said they didn’t get the same deal offered on the show. In addition, 43% said they got no deal at all.
Cuban and others with a vested interest in the show are quick to emphasize that those Shark Tank deals are based on a handshake, with no guarantee of a payoff beyond the visibility the show provides.
Is Shark Tank Scripted?
Shank Tank isn’t scripted but the producers of the show dramatize certain elements to make it more entertaining for viewers. Typically, pitches can last for up to two hours and the show is edited down to 10-minute segments for each company.
Producers and stars of the hit show know drama, so it’s logical to assume they would suggest guests come with that in mind, then induce conflict by setting up verbal faceoffs between the sharks and the presenters. This also seems especially likely given the incendiary personalities of some panelists. guests and presenters.
So what about the lawsuits and the lack of concrete deals that pay off in the end? Those are a different matter entirely, given that it’s nearly impossible to go beyond the percentage numbers that Forbes found.
It is fair to follow the old “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” adage, and there are plenty of presenters and even panelists who seem to have been done dirty in various ways by questionable business ethics.
In other words, a variation on the “caveat emptor” applies – let the buyer and the seller both beware when you decide to swim with the business sharks.