Ready to pitch? ‘Shark Tank’ returns to ABC’s Friday lineup

Inventors continue to show their wares on ABC hit

Robert Herjavec and his “Shark Tank” comrades return to their original night as the ABC series moves back to Fridays.

It’s the same show with the same energetic level of pitches, but the Sharks are swimming back to Fridays.

After more than two years on Sundays, the multiple-Emmy-winning ABC series that lets entrepreneurs try to sell their goods to prospective investors continues its 11th season by returning to its original night starting Feb. 28. Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Kevin O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John and Robert Herjavec still comprise the regular panel of Sharks who gauge proposed products and services, then decide whether to put their money and expertise into developing the given idea and bringing it to market.

“We had a big (ratings) spike when we went to Sunday nights, and I think we became comfort food for people to end their week with,” Herjavec says, “so we’re excited (about the move back to Friday). We think it’s going to do well for us. My view is that the harder life becomes, the more people love our show.

“People don’t realize that we started the show in the depths of the economic recession in 2009,” notes Herjavec. “and today, look at this country: We’re divided, some people think there will be a war … it’s a tough time. But you turn on our show, and you see hope and aspiration and dreams, and people who have done something with their lives. It’s very powerful.”

Robert Herjavec and his “Shark Tank” comrades return to their original night as the ABC series moves back to Fridays.

Previously seen (as was O’Leary) on the Canadian “Shark Tank” forerunner “Dragons’ Den,” Herjavec – who is married to the former Kym Johnson, his partner on Season 20 of “Dancing With the Stars” and the mother of their twin children – is grateful “Shark Tank” had room to establish itself. He reflects, “We hoped that ABC would give us enough time for the audience to get to love us. And to their credit, they did.”

Still, executive producer Clay Newbill admits he was skeptical about the scheduling. “Friday-night viewing was really poor, not just on ABC but on all networks,” he recalls, “but they were absolutely right. It was a brilliant move, and for whatever reason, a lot of families came to watch the show. Kids like to watch it because they can learn the basics of not just business, but of how to deal with adversity in life.”

“Shark Tank” has proven very repeatable, not only on ABC but also in its second home on CNBC. Since ABC is now big on live “event” programming, Newbill doesn’t rule out a live “Shark Tank”: “The thing about ’live’ is that a pitch on the show lasts anywhere from seven to 13 minutes, but in real time, the average is about 45 minutes. So, if we’re doing it live, you may only see one pitch.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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