CULVER CITY, Calif. — For the first time ever, ABC’s “Shark Tank” had a live feed frenzy.
The long-running reality competition – in which entrepreneurs pitch products to investor ‘sharks’ Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John and Kevin O’Leary – kicked off season 14 on Friday with its first live broadcast, in front of a studio audience. USA TODAY was there and spoke to Sharks afterwards in an exclusive interview.
Over the course of the hour, the Sharks heard three different pitches (instead of the usual four) and had about 15 minutes to offer, negotiate, and strike a deal (or not) for each.
The stakes were high, as the audience cheered, booed and made it clear which deals they wanted the contractors to agree to. In the end, each group of entrepreneurs left with a case in hand.
“Oh my God, that was crazy,” Greiner says, flanked by her fellow sharks in the studio less than 30 minutes after the show ended. “I felt like I was in a tornado. It was fascinating, exciting and fun. It was so fast and I didn’t expect the audience to intervene at all.”
But as the sharks sipped celebratory champagne and their adrenaline began to wear off, a major question arose in their minds: what were they thinking, offering so much money?
Here’s what the Sharks had to say about the live show experience, plus a look at how it all went inside the studio.
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In a typical pre-recorded episode, introductions and negotiations can last up to 90 minutes before being edited into a 10-minute segment for television.
Due to the time constraints of a live broadcast, O’Leary says entrepreneurs really had to deliver “the classic elevator pitch.”
“Except there were six people in the elevator,” Greiner adds.
Corcoran says the first “Shark Tank” cheerleading section of the live show favored entrepreneurs, even though they had less time to explain their products.
“The public was always on the side of the entrepreneur, without exception,” says Corcoran. “It helped the contractor get a better deal.”
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That’s great if you’re the contractors, but not so great if you’re one of the sharks, who nervously kept their eyes on an off-camera timer, behind the contractors, as it counted down to the next break advertising.
“We’ve been so caught up,” says John, who landed a deal with Jeff and Stacy Grace for $200,000, in exchange for a 15% stake in their compostable underwear business. “We’re so excited too, so we’re putting a lot more emotion than usual.
“Forget emotion! We invest too much money in every transaction,” says Corcoran.
When Sina and Nina Farzin pitched their product — a picnic that helps babies breathe — Corcoran upped its offer from $400,000 to $600,000 in exchange for 10%, as Herjavec agreed to join.
The audience went wild chanting “Take the deal”, and the Farzins agreed.
“Did we invest another $200,000 in our deal?” Herjavec asks Corcoran after the show.
“We have gone mad! Corcoran responds. “I don’t even know what I paid, but I know I definitely overpaid with this audience screaming at me.”
Kevin O’Leary ‘almost choked’ on ‘terrible’ pizza on last pitch
Tate Koenig, the third and final entrepreneur, has piqued the sharks’ interest with his collapsible, microwaveable container for storing leftover pizza.
He scored an offer from Greiner of $100,000 for 13% of his business. The crowd chanted Greiner’s name as Koenig considered his options before accepting his offer.
But would Koenig have done so well without the support of a studio audience?
“We would have kicked him out with his fucking slices of pizza,” jokes Corcoran. Greiner adds that the Sharks “would have hammered him on the prizes” in a typical episode. (Koenig sells its pizza containers for more than $20 each.)
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Cuban says Koenig should have answered more questions as well, like why the pizza provided for his pitch was cold.
“By the way, the pizza was horrible,” adds O’Leary. “I ate a piece. I almost choked. It was horrible.”
Sharks chatting up the audience during commercial breaks
During commercial breaks, the sharks checked their phones while crew members touched up their hair and makeup.
Often they chatted with enthusiastic fans in the audience. John even posed for a photo with a woman wearing a dress covered in images of swimming sharks.
The sharks also chatted among themselves in low voices. What did they discuss? O’Leary plays after-show shy.
“Barbara said the broom I bought her last year didn’t work anymore,” he said with a straight face. “She can’t fly anywhere, so I have to buy her a new one.”
Corcoran retaliates, “And I was telling him to take that broom…and push it!”
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The sharks also helped warm up the crowd, especially Cubans, who fired it up ahead of the show.
“Remember, when I say something, you clap really, really hard,” Cuban told the audience. offers.
As the sharks exited the stage before the air, Corcoran joked that there was one last thing the sharks needed to get ready: “Everyone’s drinking liquor now!”
Pre-recorded shark entries are redone
Not everything could be recorded live.
The shark entries were pre-recorded twice, first with the audience clapping then rising to a standing ovation, then with the audience clapping while remaining seated. The second take made the cut. (They are already seated when other episodes begin.)
A nice surprise for longtime viewers was the appearance of Phil Crowley, who has narrated the show since its premiere in 2009. Crowley made his first on-camera appearance on “Shark Tank” during the live show, delivering her announcements from a platform at the side of the stage facing the audience.
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