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1) Every Shark Tank contestant is required to meet with an on-set psychologist after filming their segment. “They have to make sure we haven’t scarred them for life,” Mark Cuban says.
2) Not every deal that gets made on the show actually ends up happening. Any offer a Shark makes while shooting is not considered official. According to Daymond John, about one in five deals fall through after filming.
3) Sometimes the Sharks will pull out of a deal after learning that the contestant lied about their company’s finances during their pitch.
4) But according to Mark Cuban, it’s usually the contestants who back out of the deals: “I’d say 90 percent of the time, the entrepreneur changed the deal. It was not us backing out.”
5) The Sharks wear hidden earpieces while filming. If a contestant has a particularly emotional or unusual backstory, producers will secretly prompt a Shark to ask them about it.
6) But Mark Cuban says he doesn’t particularly enjoy the backstories: “I hate the backstory…because it’s usually a way to hide the realities of the business.”
7) The most successful product in Shark Tank history is the Scrub Daddy, which has raked in over $75 million and sold more than 10 million units. On the show, Lori Greiner purchased 20% of the company for $200,000.
8) Each pitch on Shark Tank is WAY longer than what you see on TV. The average pitch actually goes on for an hour or more, and then gets edited down to about eight minutes.
9) The shooting schedule is jam-packed to finish as quickly as possible. An entire season can be shot in just 17 days, with the Sharks seeing six-to-eight pitches per day.
10) Since every episode of Shark Tank is compiled of segments filmed on different days, the Sharks have to wear the same exact clothes for days at a time to avoid continuity issues.
11) One of the longest pitches in Shark Tank history came from Michael Tseng, the founder of Plate Topper. His pitch lasted two and a half hours. Mark Cuban says it was one of the best pitches he’s ever seen.
12) Most of what gets cut from the TV broadcast are boring financial details. Sharks need to know them, but viewers don’t.
13) The production company behind Shark Tank used to require contestants to give them 5% equity or 2% of the profits from their companies in exchange for appearing on the show. Mark Cuban threatened to quit over this rule, so producers got rid of it.
14) Robert Herjavec has said that the 12-plus hour shooting days can be grueling on the Sharks: “We’re cold, we’re hungry, we’re miserable.”
15) When contestants first walk onto the set, producers make them do a lengthy “stare-down” with the Sharks, where they stare at each other in total silence for up to a minute. Once the stare-down is over, contestants begin their pitch. A reporter for D Magazine once visited the set and described the silent stare-down as “excruciating to watch.”
16) The Sharks aren’t given any information about the companies before they see the pitches. They go in totally blind.
17) According to Mark Cuban, about 20% of pitches they film don’t even make it to air.
18) You know that big hallway the contestants have to walk through to get to the tank? The walls of that hallway are built at an angle to make the hallway look longer than it really is.
19) Shark Tank is filmed on a Sony Pictures soundstage in Los Angeles. It’s the same studio lot where they shot parts of The Wizard of Oz.
20) Contestants will sometimes go on the show even when they don’t want a deal, just to get exposure on national TV. The Sharks call these contestants “gold diggers,” and they’ve started calling them out on air.
21) The original Shark Tank franchise aired in Japan, under the name Money Tigers. It then moved to the UK, and was renamed Dragon’s Den. That show was then brought to Canada. Finally, it reached the US under the name Shark Tank.
22) Robert Herjavec and Kevin O’Leary initially appeared on the Canadian Dragon’s Den before getting cast on Shark Tank.
23) In Season 1 of the show, viewership was low — Daymond John even claims it was “on the verge of being canceled.” Ratings spiked in Season 2, when Mark Cuban joined the cast (initially as a guest Shark).
24) According to former contestant Dave Vasen, you only get one take to do your pitch — no reshoots allowed. “If you mess up, you mess up. If it goes off course, tough luck. No do-overs.”
25) Vasen also claims that contestants are sworn to secrecy about the outcomes of their pitches: “If any details are leaked, the production team can just cut you from the show (and will).”
26) Ever wondered why so many of those update segments feature Barbara Corcoran’s companies? All the Sharks have the ability to pitch updates to producers, but Barbara calls herself the “queen” of them, telling Business Insider: “I know how to pitch an update better than anybody! And get it bought, boom, booked.”
27) NBA player Deron Williams claims he didn’t join the Dallas Mavericks because he felt Mark Cuban was too busy filming Shark Tank to talk to him.
28) Guest Shark Chris Sacca says that producers had a hard time filming his intro segment for the show. They wanted to film him in a mansion, in a sports car, on a boat, and on a private plane — but he didn’t own any of that stuff.
29) In the first few episodes of the show, the Sharks were seated behind a raised news desk with stacks of money on it. Producers later decided to put the Sharks in chairs, to make the pitches more intimate.
30) Producers now require contestants to agree to a “no-shop” clause in their contract, basically saying they won’t use an offer they get on Shark Tank to leverage a better deal somewhere else. According to Barbara Corcoran, this was happening “all the time.”
31) Getting on Shark Tank is no easy feat — in fact, Inc. claims it’s harder to get into than Harvard. Daymond John says that in 2015, 40,000 people applied to be on the show. From that pool, 150 were selected to film a pitch and fewer than 100 ended up on TV.
32) As of 2017, the Sharks had invested over $100 million in entrepreneurs from the show.
33) The Sharks have admitted to occasionally doing deals just because they make for a “feel good” story on TV.
34) The Sharks’ fights can get even more heated than what you see on TV. Mark Cuban once told AOL: “When we get mad, we’ll start cursing at each other, yelling at each other, and the entrepreneurs will be like, ‘What the hell is going on?'”
35) But if the Sharks swear during taping, producers will sometimes ask them to rerecord what they said, minus the offensive words. It’s a family show!