ABC Television Network
Shark Tank is riding a wave of popularity that is really kicking up the quality of life for its millionaires and billionaires. The denizens of the tanks are regulars on the talk show circuit and have journalists filing story after story after story in all types of media. They need to be careful though — their parent network, ABC, could be pushing this show off the rails of the gravy train even faster than they would like.
Another ABC show can provide a cautionary tale that Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O'Leary should heed: Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. Over a decade ago, it was the toast of the television world. Regis Philbin, with his assortment of ties, had all of America repeating his trademark phrase, "Is that your final answer?" It was must-watch TV and the first time that someone actually answered the million dollar question was national news.
Then ABC got greedy. It started airing new episodes multiple times a week. People got bored of the program and it eventually fell out of prime-time grace. The very same thing can happen with Shark Tank if the programming honchos aren't more careful. The show has served as a stalwart stand-in for series that have already ended their seasons or have already been canceled. While there is educational value in a repeat viewing of a Shark Tank episode, there's no small chance that people might start tuning these lessons out.
The show's format has served it well, especially with the bringing in of Cuban and Greiner to further humanize the show; still, there's always a need to shake up thing after a while, since even the most successful formula and get stale after a while. One suggestion might be for the five sharks to make some road trips and visit the entrepreneurs in their element. That way, they could spend an episode in one place and go really in-depth, much like Marcus Lemonis does on The Profit. Imagine Cuban snarking on the work area of an entrepreneur. Even if this shakes up what we loved about the show to begin with, fresh material like this could be what saves the series from going stale.
Just remember... a shark has to keep moving forward, otherwise it will die. The same could be said of this show if ABC keeps this up.
ABC Television Network
Tonight's episode had guest Shark Steve Tisch sitting in Robert Herjavec's seat. Tisch is co-owner of the New York Giants, whose stadium happens to be the host site for the Super Bowl coming up on Sunday. Could his appearance have been timed to this? Nahhhhh. Much as I like Herjavec, it's always nice to see some fresh blood among the Sharks.
The first presentation started off really weirdly with Chris Pouy, one of the entrepreneurs, wearing a cow outfit. The other one, Tiffany Panhilason, wore an elegant orange dress, so there was some kind of visual disparity at first. Just look at the picture above. Yeah. Points for some originality, but the Sharks were rolling their eyes pretty early on before Pouhy switched into a dress jacket and shirt. They were pitching Cow Wow Cereal Milk. Yes. they actually saved the remnants of the milk at the bottom of cereal bowl. Besides the sugar amount and the fact that the market was already so saturated (pun intended), the Sharks weren't wowed at the $250,000 and 10% equity they were asking for. For me, their packaging reminded me too much of those muscle drinks you see at gyms. No Shark bit and they were reduced to making cow puns in the hall afterwards. "We'll keep on moo-ving." Right. That made me want to reach for an alcoholic beverage. I'm udderly serious. No! Don't click away! I won't do that again.
This was another two-person pitch. They were Joan Pacetti and Julia Schmid, two sisters from Normal, Illinois. There should be a horror movie set in a town like that ... well, because weird things happening in a place called Normal. C'mon. That should write itself. I want royalties if it does happen. They were pitching Cookie Dough Cafe, which was what it sounds like: raw cookie dough, but safe to eat since it has no eggs in it. Mark Cuban, Daymond John and Kevin O'Leary were offput by the low number of sales, with O'Leary saying quite a few unkind things. However, Lori Greiner and Tisch saw the potential, and after a bit of haggling and the sisters being lucky that the two Sharks weren't mad that they didn't immediately jump at the offer, they paired up for a deal for $100,000 for 30%.
The update was for Pro-NRG, which was protein infused water. John had invested in it. They had over $1.5 million in sales since then and Brandon Jacobs, the recently-retired running back for the Giants, was still the spokesman
The third person was Terry Jones, the CEO of Nexersys. The product was a workout machine where people punched various pads while looking at at a video simulation of a boxer. The thing that sank this pitch very quickly was the fact that he had a lot of investors and a lot of debt, which was a bad combination. The Sharks kept asking tougher and tougher questions, with Jones looking more and more like a hapless lightweight boxer being ferociously hit by a young Mike Tyson, an example that John alluded to during the presentation. He was soon KO'd with no deal and the Sharks thinking that he was going to wind up being an employee of his own company with the debt load. The pitch did last longer than some of Tyson's early fights, though.
The fourth pitch was for Cycloramic and it was by far the coolest thing I've seen in a long time. What it was was an app that harnessed the vibrate function on a smartphone and allowed it to turn on its own on a flat surface and take a panoramic picture. It was one of those things that had to be seen to understand how amazing that was. The entrepreneur, Bruno Francois was swarmed by Sharks in one of the few good examples of a feeding frenzy. Eventually Greiner and Cuban paired together - with Greiner even switching partners in mid-stream. She had originally paired with Tisch and then jumped on Cuban's offering for $500,000 and 15% equity, which Francois accepted, but not before Greiner jumped up in the middle of other Sharks trying to get other offers in and nearly bellowing, "STOP!" to get them to quit trying to ruin her deal, which she had nearly closed. Tisch was befuddled at her change of heart with the partnership but there's the whole saying about women and changing their minds. Cuban and Greiner were the best two to do it: they know technology and they know how to get things out fast. I was happy to see Francois choose them.
"It's a hobby that should be taken behind the barn and shot." -- O'Leary did NOT like the Cookie Dough Cafe at all.
"If you do this deal, I'm going to add egg to yours." -- O'Leary did NOT want John to do a deal with the Cookie Dough Cafe people.
"Kevin hears the word 'dough' and he gets confused." -- Cuban riffing on O'Leary's love of money.
"I'm going to give you some rolling paper so you can smoke this stuff." -- O'Leary to the Cookie Dough Cafe women after they hemmed and hawed on Greiner and Tisch's initial offer.
"She'd kick my ass." -- Cuban remarking on the model who was hitting the Nexersys pads.
"I just wanted to knock his ass out." -- Cuban on using the Nexersys system to punch an avatar of O'Leary, whom the Mavericks owner is fond of taking shots at.
"His mouthpiece is in the third row, Lori." -- John alluding to how badly Jones was going to get hit when his debt came due.
"Welcome to the Shark Tank rook!" -- Cuban after Greiner switched partners to join him and abandoning a partnership with Tisch in the last segment .Of course, billionaires can needle each other like that.
Liv Tyler pregnant with first child
Actress Liv Tyler is expecting her first child with rocker husband Royston Langdon, frontman of the band Spacehog, The Associated Press reports. According to People magazine, Tyler, 26, who recently starred as the Elven princess Arwen in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, is due this winter. She and Langdon have been married since March 2003.
More baby news…
Supermodel Claudia Schiffer is expecting her second child with husband Matthew Vaughn, a British film producer, Reuters reports. Schiffer's spokeswoman said the model is four months pregnant. The couple, who live in Suffolk, England, have a son, Caspar, born in January of last year.
Affleck bluffs his way to jackpot
Cha-ching! Ben Affleck won $356,400 at a poker tournament, outlasting a field of 90 players to capture the Commerce Casino's California State Poker Championship, AP reports. At the final table, Affleck beat poker pro Stan Goldstein, who finished second, and knocked out Chuck Pacheco, president and co-founder of Castle Rock Entertainment, who finished third. Fellow actor Tobey Maguire went out on the first day of the three-day tournament that ended Sunday. The win in the $10,000 buy-in event earned Affleck the opportunity to take a $25,000 seat in the World Poker Tour Championship to be held next April in Las Vegas, AP reports.
Clinton's book looks to be hot seller
Hundreds of Bill Clinton's fans stood in line Tuesday at a Manhattan bookstore waiting for a chance to see the former president, who was scheduled to sign copies of his new memoir My Life, AP reports. The Rockefeller Center Barnes & Noble planned to give out more than 1,000 wristbands that would allow customers to purchase several copies, only one to be autographed by Clinton, before the book hits the stands Tuesday at midnight. "Bill Clinton is a rock star," Lynne Roberts, 37, told AP, who set up camp Monday night, nearly 15 hours before the signing was to begin. "He is our cultural icon and we miss him now more than ever, given everything that's going on in the world." With advance orders already topping 2 million, Clinton's book, which details his life from his Arkansas childhood through his presidency, appears guaranteed to justify his reported $10 million advance and outsell the memoirs of his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who received $8 million.
Anti-camcordering rewards program unveiled
Theater employees who report moviegoers illegally recording films to police will be rewarded up to $500 under the Anti-Camcording Rewards Program unveiled Monday by the Motion Picture Assn. of America (MPAA) and the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO), Reuters reports. The program is being funded by the MPAA, which represents the major studios, in a bid to thwart movie piracy. According to the organization, films are typically camcordered during the first few days of their U.S. release, then distributed in digital form worldwide on file-sharing networks and other online outlets. The dollar amount awarded will be decoded by the MPAA and is based on several factors, including whether the suspect was apprehended and the timing of the piracy in relation to the movie's release.
Rating for Fahrenheit 9/11 expected today
The MPAA's Rating Appeals Board is expected to render its final verdict today on the rating for filmmaker Michael Moore's anti-Bush documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, which opens Wednesday in New York and nationwide Friday. The MPAA gave the film an R rating earlier this month "for violence, disturbing images and language," but Lions Gate president Tom Ortenberg is appealing the decision on the basis the documentary will contribute to the national political debate and should be available to the widest audience possible. The biggest sticking point in the ratings debate appears to be the use of the word "motherf***er" several times by an American soldier in Iraq, as well as some graphic footage of Iraqi civilian casualties. Distributor Lions Gate has said the R would cost the pic as much as 20 percent of its audience, but according to the latest tracking research by Nielsen NRG, people over age 25, especially men, are the most interested in seeing the film.
Court rejects Jenny Jones appeal
The Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday from the family of a guest murdered days after he admitted a secret crush on another man during the taping of The Jenny Jones Show, the AP reports. Scott Amedure's family initially won a $29.3 million award against distributor Warner Brothers and The Jenny Jones Show, but that decision was thrown out last year by a Michigan appeals court. The family then appealed to the Supreme Court, claiming the Michigan judges were biased and should have disqualified themselves from the case. In 1995, Amedure appeared on the show, which is taped in Chicago, and revealed his secret crush on guest Jonathan Schmitz. Schmitz killed Amedure three days after the taping and is now serving a 25- to 50-year prison sentence for second-degree murder.
HBO boards reality bandwagon with Family Bonds
HBO has ordered 10 episodes of the reality series Family Bonds, which follows the real-life adventures of one of the country's top bounty hunters, Tom Evangelista, who runs a bail bond/bounty office with his family in Queens, N.Y., Variety reports. The series' producer-director Steven Cantor describes the project as "the Sopranos without all the heaviness and murder." Each half-hour episode will follow Evangelista and his family as they track criminals while personal drama ensues as his son tries to join the business just as his daughter wants out. Family Bonds, the first series to come out of the pay cabler's documentary/family arm, will have little of the traditional documentary earmarks such as voiceovers, narration or talking heads. The show is slated to premiere this fall on HBO.
Guylaine Cadorette contributed to this report.