Mark Burnett adapting Japanese show Dragons’ Den as The Shark Tank

Mark Burnett will work with Sony Pictures Television to adapt a Japanese reality show called Dragons’ Den as The Shark Tank. On the show, “[w]ould-be business titans pitch their ideas to a panel of already established entrepreneurs,” and try “to convince the Sharks to invest money in their concepts in the hopes of raising enough capital to move forward,” Variety reports.

Mark Burnett compared the show to American Idol‘s audition rounds, saying, “It’s about seeing people squirm, either in their unpreparedness or their lies. People come in with an idea they think is brilliant, and it’s awful. But then you get the truly inspired ideas, and the Sharks have a chance to fight it out. … If you’re coming in desperate for money, it’s like there’s blood in the water. If you want to be a great entrepreneur in the U.S., you had better be ready to swim in shark-infested waters.”

Variety says “The Sharks will act more like Simon Cowell than Paula Abdul. Rather than simply forking over coin to the business wannabes, the Sharks will act like true investors, pushing for a deal that’s in their best interest.” Burnett and Sony will pitch it to networks soon, but those networks previously rejected when Sony tried to develop it “about four years ago. Despite the format’s success overseas, U.S. nets were worried that Burnett’s ‘The Apprentice’ had cornered the market on business-themed reality shows.”

Sony, Burnett dive into ‘Shark Tank’ [Variety]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.