Shark Tank has won more than its share of industry awards, including two prime-time Emmys, two Critics’ Choice Awards, a Television Critics Association Award, and umpteen nominations from every major awards show in the industry. Several reasons account for its success since its premiere show in August 2009, and one of them is the enormous amount of behind-the-scenes energy invested in each episode. Viewers have little or no idea what’s involved, which is as it should be—the mark of true professionals is their ability to conceal all the hard work and stress needed to crank out a quality product. The magic of the show grows not out of the actions of we Sharks and the deals we might haggle over. It’s fashioned by the producers, directors, analysts, and other people behind the scenes who select the pitches and stage them for maximum impact on us and on the viewers.
Start with some numbers. Each season between 40,000 and 50,000 people either apply for an audition on Shark Tank or are invited to submit information on their business venture for consideration. Many applications are rejected immediately based on the quality of the submission. Others move through a multistage selection process before being invited to make an in-person pitch to the producers. Meanwhile, Shark Tank analysts scout business media and business trade shows in search of companies with an unusual product or service and an apparent need for investment funds. Out of those thousands of people and their business dreams who apply or are selected for consideration, about 225 are invited to make their pitch. These are further winnowed down until about 150 appear on air each season. Read more