Shark Tank will be back for a full season; sharks reveal behind-the-scenes details

ABC’s Shark Tank has been renewed for a fourth season, and for the first time, it will have a full season of episodes. That’s fantastic news for a series that has grown into a must-watch show.

For The Daily Beast today, I wrote about why the show works so well, and interviewed three of the sharks, Kevin O’Leary, Robert Herjavec, and Lori Greiner.

Among the revelations: Each presentation and deal can take 45 minutes to an hour, and the sharks know nothing about the person or the business until it’s pitched to them. (And yes, it’s really their money.) Also, many deals made in the tank fall apart during due diligence, when the sharks’ lawyers and accounts examine the company or idea in detail, and find problems. That is the same if not a higher success rate than traditional venture capital investments, though; O’Leary told me that it’s “just like the real world.”

I asked Robert about how he tends to be the unofficial host of the show, asking an entrepreneur to make a decision, or recapping the offers that were made. He said executive producer Clay Newbill “calls me the narrator of the show,” and Robert jumps in because “I have a very limited ability to sit there for a long time. I get a little bit antsy and I want things to go.”

As I wrote, Mark Cuban’s full-time addition this season really helped the show take off, because he’s simply awesome, whether he’s confronting entrepreneurs who are peddling a scam or ruthlessly defeating the other sharks. Grenier also improved on the shark she replaced for a few episodes, Barbara Corcoran; Grenier told me that she was actually cast for the series’ pilot, but the death of her mother prevented her from being able to participate.

Now that it has a pretty perfect cast of sharks and a full season, I hope the show takes off even more than it did this year, when ratings increased significantly, culminating last Friday in the show overtaking Undercover Boss. It’s well-deserved success for a show that overcame its ridiculous name and brought more high-quality reality to television.

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.

Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.