This season on Shark Tank, two new men join the lineup of Sharks: Mark Cuban and Jeff Foxworthy, both of whom rotate in Kevin Harrington’s chair when he’s not there.
I met Foxworthy, who hosts another of producer Mark Burnett’s shows, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?, at the dawn of his first day on his new job. I learned a couple of interesting things when I did my pre-shoot homework. One is that he lived in the same town that my grandparents did: Hapeville, Georgia. (I wonder if he used to go to the Richway, like I did.) The other is that 25 years ago, his job was to maintain mainframe IBM computers.
As it happens, I realized, fellow Shark Robert Herjavec, who immigrated to Canada from Croatia as a kid, got his beginnings selling IBM mainframe computers during the same period. It’s hard to get a scoop in the over-covered entertainment universe, but I was pretty proud of finding that one. You can see Robert Herjavec learning about it for the first time on yesterday’s video interview with him.
By the time I met Foxworthy, the next day, Herjavec had already filled him in on their shared origins in the make-up room. Took my scoop and used it to make a fast buddy! If they go in on a business together during the second season of Shark Tank, I’d like to think I brokered the friendship between them that allowed it all to happen. Hey, Robert — it’s on camera.
Some people may wonder what a stand-up comic such as Foxworthy is doing on a panel of self-made titans, but that’s where they’re wrong. As I pointed out when the casting was first announced, Foxworthy has created a multi-milliondollar merchandise franchise out of his personal brand.
He’s certainly canny, and a dark horse among Sharks, but does he have the teeth to hang with his flesh-eating colleagues? You be the judge: