‘Shark Tank’ Producer Reveals Shocking Rules Enforced Behind the Scenes of the Reality Show
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Securing a deal on Shark Tank isn’t a simple process! The show’s cast and production team recently revealed some of the standard procedures that go on behind the scenes — and the rules and guidelines might shock you!

Like many other great reality series, the core of the show lies within its lengthy casting process.

“I think there were 14,000 people that applied this season, and we ended up shooting somewhere around 130 of them,” executive producer Clay Newbill told People in September ahead of the season 15 premiere. “We overshoot because not all pitches are going to be strong enough to air. At the end of the day, we’re still producing a television show. It needs to be entertaining from a creative perspective.”

The program welcomes applicants of all ages with unique ideas. Once invited onto the show, they are expected to provide their own props and write their own pitches.

“The average pitch is probably about 40 minutes and we edit that down to between seven to 12 minutes for what actually airs,” he revealed.

Entrepreneurs only get one shot at giving the sharks an impressive pitch. The only time pitches are ever stopped or redone is if there are microphone issues.

On top of getting one chance to make a lasting impression, the business hopefuls are not allowed to pitch to the sharks on social media prior to coming on the show. This ensures that the investors have no prior knowledge of the ideas presented to them during each episode.

“I have no idea what’s going to come through that door,” businessman Kevin O’Leary said. “And just when I thought I’ve seen everything, the door opens and I see something that makes me think, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’”

The cast of 'Shark Tank' stands next to each other
David Livingston/Getty Images

Of course, one question that viewers are often left with is what happens to contestants after making a deal on the show.

“People are the most optimistic when the lights are shining on them,” Kevin, 69, added. “We go to work, and we check out what they said and do a lot of digging, which is what happens in the real world also … We’re looking for things that maybe weren’t correct in the presentation; particularly if they give hockey stick projections on sales, we’re going to go check that out.”

Over the past few seasons of Shark Tank, several entrepreneurs have been featured in follow-up segments to provide updates on how their businesses are doing. While these updates are a favorite among fans, they are not required for people who secure deals on the show.

“Obviously we can’t force them to share updates,” Clay explained. “But generally it’s the sharks and the businesses that will reach out to us and let us know, ‘We’ve had some great success and would like to be considered for an update.’”

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