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One shark is quitting Shark Tank. Maybe others should follow!

One shark is quitting Shark Tank. Maybe others should follow!
Mark Cuban on Shark Tank season 15, his penultimate season (Photo by Christopher Willard/Disney)

Mark Cuban recently declared that he’s quitting ABC’s Shark Tank after season 16.

Season 15 is currently airing—and already filmed, as Shark Tank typically films its episodes in two batches, at the start and end of summer—which means Mark will be on the show through spring 2025.

The Dallas Mavericks owner announced this on Showtime’s podcast All the Smoke, which went up on YouTube last Tuesday, and no one noticed until today.

Mark said, around the 1:03:00 point in the episode, “This is our 15th year. Next year, 16th year, is going to be my last year, so I got one more year to go. It’s time.” He added that, “I love it, because it sends the message that the American dream is alive and well.”

As his departure approaches, I wonder: Is it time for others to leave? I think the answer is yes.

A person leans back into a strap that's around their waist and around a fake tree
Mark Cuban tests the Krapp Strapp on Shark Tank season 15 (Photo by Christopher Willard/Disney)

If you’d asked me 10 years ago, I’d have been skeptical that reality TV shows could survive without their hosts.

But from The Bachelor to The Great British Bake-Off, it’s clear that a strong enough format can withstand changes. Even a show like Dancing with the Stars, which had a rocky transition, is still just the same-old show.

Over its life, Shark Tank has injected new blood/money into the negotiations by adding guest investors over the years.

By Wikipedia’s count, there have been 31 guest sharks. Some of them have made great TV; others are founders of questionable companies, including the creator of the worst product ever featured on the show.

Six people posing in front of a blue backdrop; two are sitting on stools and the others standing
Shark Tank’s permanent sharks: Daymond John, Robert Herjavec, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, and Kevin O’Leary. (Photo by Maarten de Boer/ABC)

But it was 11 years ago, in 2012, that Shark Tank added its last permanent shark: Lori Greiner, who guested in season three and joined in season four.

Mark Cuban guested in season two and joined in season three. Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John, Robert Herjavec, and Kevin O’Leary have all been with the show since season one.

That’s a long time with the same panel, and their interaction and shtick can get old.

I know their contracts stipulate how much they’ll be featured, but as Mark departs, I’d love to see more change-up in the tank.

Shark Tank, Kevin O'Leary, Mr. Wonderful
Kevin O’Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful, in the seventh season premiere of ABC’s Shark Tank. (Photo by Tyler Golden/ABC)

That doesn’t necessarily mean other sharks have to leave, but maybe they just shouldn’t have permanent chairs. (Okay, yes, Kevin O’Leary should leave; he and his obnoxious interruptions are so boring.)

Mark Cuban will be missed, but I’m sure the show can continue without him. One way to make sure it does that is to add more variety.

Mark’s addition in three of season two’s episodes, and then in a permanent chair for season three, really helped energize Shark Tank, which spent its early years jumping around timeslots and being on the cancellation bubble.

Mark was more aggressive in negotiations, giving some entrepreneurs a countdown to accept his offer. He sparred with Kevin O’Leary, especially, and made the conversations more interesting.

Now, though, entrepreneurs tend to ignore offers from other sharks to look over at Mark to see if he’ll make an offer. He’s the one many of them want to work with.

Perhaps it’s because he has the most cash to play with, as the one billionaire among the sharks (their estimated net worth is far lower than his). Or perhaps it’s just because of his reputation and track record. Either way, negotiations easily tip in his favor. That’s great for entrepreneurs, only sometimes good TV.

At the very least, I’d like to see fewer of the core sharks and more guests—and more of the great guest sharks added into the regular mix.

Shark Tank is already doing that, on a smaller scale: Daniel Lubetzky has been a guest every season since season 11, and Emma Grede has recurred since season 13.

Even if none of the other core six will depart, I would love more shuffling. What about an all-guest shark episode? One with all former Shark Tank entrepreneurs who are now investors themselves? All female sharks?

I fear that Mark’s departure might make the producers and/or network more fearful of change, and want to stick with the core sharks. I think that’d be a mistake, especially considering how tired some of them are (Kevin, cough cough).

There are so many options once those in permanent spots make some space for others. Even just changing their actual seats helped refresh the show back in 2018, so maybe in 2025, Shark Tank can clean out its tank even more.

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Happy discussing!

Chuck S.

Tuesday 28th of November 2023

Kevin REALLY needs to go.. he is NOT Mr. Wonderful... He's Mr. WonderIfHe'sFullOfShit. I like Lori, but yeah, her not allowing other offers is a bit tired. It's nice to see guest sharks and maybe a rotating panel would work better.

~ZZZ~

Tuesday 28th of November 2023

Sorry to disagree ~ Well, I really like Kevin. I also really like Mark. I've always really liked Barbara, Robert and Daymond (I kinda love it when Daymond finds something really funny). Not a big fan of Lori, I absolutely hate it when she won't let the people listen to other offers. And I don't actually like the guest sharks for the most part. I HATED when ARod and Gwyneth Paltrow were on. IMO, just rich asshole celebrities looking for attention....No thanks.

Andy Dehnart

Tuesday 28th of November 2023

Agreed on not letting people listen to other offers! It was entertaining briefly at first, because it was new, but after that, nope. It's similar to Kevin interrupting—it's just unnecessary and rude.

JF

Tuesday 28th of November 2023

I think Damon can go. I'd like Barbara, Lori, and Kevin to stay. The rest I'm meh about.

There are some great Dragons out there that would make excellent replacements! Also a few of the guest sharks have been good.

Kevin

Tuesday 28th of November 2023

I've been saying for a while that they should add someone who is used to sparring with O'Leary and Herjavec - Arlene Dickenson. She's my favourite Dragon and she'd fit right in on the show.