Interview: Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban talks making deals and beating the shit out of people

In 2009, when ABC premiered Shark Tank—a show featuring five very rich investors hearing pitches from hopeful entrepreneurs—it was interesting but it lacked a certain panache. It lacked a star. Which isn’t surprising, because when’s the last time you heard a Koch brother or a member of the Walton family say something of interest or something with entertainment value? Or say anything at all?

That’s when producer Mark Burnett called on an old friend, perhaps the most entertaining member of the billionaires’ club this side of Richard Branson, for help. Mark Cuban—the “outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks,” as the Shark Tank credits like to say—joined in season two and hasn’t left since.

Over 40,000 hopefuls apply for Shark Tank every year and that number is whittled down to mere dozens who get to be on the show, where they either …

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