‘Shark Tank’ Goes Live! The Sharks Tease What to Expect From Season 14 Premiere

'Shark Tank' Season 14 Cast Live Premiere
Premiere
ABC/Christopher Willard

Shark Tank, the reality competition series that gives entrepreneurs the chance to find financing from five savvy business people, returns tonight for its Season 14 premiere.

Shark Tank will be doing a live episode for the first time ever. So the Sharks – Mark Cuban (owner, Dallas Mavericks), Barbara Corcoran (real estate mogul), Lori Greiner (inventor, Queen of QVC), Robert Herjavec (technology innovator), Daymond John (fashion and branding expert), and Kevin O’Leary (venture capitalist) AKA “Mr. Wonderful” — who are used to having much more time will have to cut to the chase with prospective partners.

Producers are adding a live element to tonight’s episode — folks at home will be able to weigh in on whether or not the Sharks should take the plunge and make a deal. TV Insider chatted with all five Sharks to get their thoughts on the live episode, how the pandemic has changed the business world, upcoming guest Shark Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man; Glee), and more. Here’s what they had to say.

On the episode’s live studio audience

Lori Greiner: “I will be fascinated by what they have to say. As always with market research, the consumer speaks. However, I have to make a wise decision for me and use my gut.”

Mark Cuban: “This is a good question. I think [the producers] are just trying to kill time and create transitions and segues. This will be something to roll our eyes over? [Seriously,] the producers are smart. They’ve worked hard on this. They’ll find a way to make it work.”

Robert Herjavec: “I’m excited for the audience to see the story develop from beginning to end. I’m excited to see sheer chaos and pandemonium in a positive way. With a live audience, I think the show will be off the charts.”

Kevin O’Leary: “I’m very interested in the opinions [of the audience]. It’s a way of using social media that we haven’t in the past. [But] I’m a pragmatic guy. I look at sales.”

Daymond John: “I don’t think the audience is going to weigh in on if they would buy [a product].“

Barbara Corcoran: “They’ll give their opinion whether or not they like it.”

On what goes into wanting to partner with a Shark Tank contestant

Greiner: “It depends on what their story is. If their story tells me that they’re a wonderful human being and they’re someone I want to work with, I’ll be influenced. It has to be a great project. You have to determine how they’ll be as a business partner.”

Cuban: “The biggest thing I ask is, ‘What’s your differentiation?’ I’ll ask, ‘What makes you different?’ I ask myself, ‘Wow, why didn’t I think of this?’

Shark Tank Season 14 Mark Cuban

ABC/Christopher Willard

On how the pandemic affected business, workers, and entrepreneurs

Corcoran: “It made entrepreneurs more tough. People who have come through the pandemic have had a trial by fire. We know they’re survivors.”

John: “People are realizing now they need to be directly connected to the consumer for success. Don’t depend on a retailor.”

Greiner: “People need us more. A lot of people look to our advice more. The pandemic made people think that they didn’t want to do their 9 to 5 job anymore. It made them think they wanted to take their own jobs and careers into their own hands. Our show has shown people how they can pivot, change their lives, and their careers.”

Cuban: “It’s made life difficult for so many people. I think of the ungodly number of people we lost to this disease. It separated us as a country. I thought it would bring us together, and it didn’t. It separated us. That’s created challenges we haven’t overcome. In terms of business, the pandemic interrupted supply chains, people going to stores and to ‘Mom and Pop’ businesses where we went in to get our coffee or water or granola each morning. On the flip side, you saw many different types of businesses explode.”

Herjavec: “We tell people that if they survived the pandemic, they should get a big pat on the back. We’re seeing now that any business that isn’t profitable is really struggling. People could get loans back in 2009 but now, those same people may not get an investment if they’re not successful. That’s why Shark Tank is so great – people can get an investment. We can cut a ‘sharkier’ deal. People may need us more than they did a few years ago.”

O’Leary: “I’ve always felt that Shark Tank was two years head of the market. You see very early ideas that people are dreaming up. Now. they’ve been forced to live in their houses all day long. As a result, we’ve seen a lot of new ideas, mission-based statements, and businesses with a strong direct-to-consumer model. They built this all up during the pandemic.”

On working with guest Shark Gwyneth Paltrow

Cuban: “She’s so smart. She wasn’t a guest ‘Shark’ who wanted to come on and just be loud. Gwen is super-duper smart. It’s one thing to be book smart. It was easy to see why Goop [Paltrow’s wellness and lifestyle brand and company] is so successful. She said things that I learned from, and that made me think. That’s unusual for me.”

Herjavec: “I worked with Gwyneth a little bit. All the guest Sharks bring something new and exciting and different to the show.”

O’Leary: “She’s terrific. She runs a company, and she brought that experience to the show. We competed on some deals, and I respected all of her decisions. She’s a marketing maven genius – no question.”

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On which Sharks who haven’t done Dancing With the Stars will join a future cast

Greiner: “I don’t know. I danced for years, but I’ve had two different toe surgeries. Maybe. Maybe not? I don’t know if I’d survive it.”

Cuban: (Laughs) “None of them should do it. Kevin can’t dance. Daymond can… I will say I loved doing it. Kym [Johnson Herjavec, Robert’s wife] is a great partner. I never lacked for confidence but doing the show gave me even greater confidence. It was stressful. When I was on it, we had two nights of live TV. It taught me if I set my mind on something, I could do it.”

John: “I wanted to do it its first few years. My daughter started watching Dancing With the Stars, and she became a champion ballroom dancer. I practice with her once in a while. It’s very difficult.”

Herjavec: “I have to preface my answer by saying one of the Sharks – Barbara – never should have done the show.”

Corcoran: “Robert’s right. I would heartily agree with him. I want to put that memory behind me!”

Shark Tank Season 14 Robert Herjavec

ABC/Christopher Willard

On whether one Shark being interested in a product will change another Shark’s opinion

Greiner: “I’m very independent. I make my decisions in my own right. I know if I see a ‘hero’ or a ‘zero.’ If I see my fellow Sharks are interested in something that I don’t believe in, it’s not going to change my mind.”

Cuban: “Sometimes, yeah.”

Herjavec: “We have a sports product coming onto the show that involves basketball. Mark didn’t like it. That made me step back and say, ‘Well if a guy who owns a basketball team doesn’t like it….’

O’Leary: “It does [change my opinion]. When I realize that we’re bidding up the price, I’ll ask, what are we doing here? I’ll go to Mark, for example, and say, ‘Let’s go in this together.’ We’ll split the equity 50/50 and drive the price down. If I have to split the deal to keep it reasonable and sane, I will. This season, we have a deal where everyone – all five sharks – [loved] the product. It’s smoking hot! We agreed to work on this together. That never happens. When you see the product, it’s going to sell millions of dollars the night it airs. I’ve never seen a product so simple, so smart, so perfect for Shark Tank. It’ll be a huge hit.”

Shark Tank, Live Season 14 Premiere, Friday, September 23, 8/7c, ABC