ABC's Shark Tank is the dynamic new reality series by Survivor and Apprentice creator, Mark Burnett. Five super-successes in business dish tough love to nascent entrepreneurs. (Check out Walletpop's exclusive behind-the-scenes coverage here.) Out of those five, one is a woman -- real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran who sold her Corcoran Group for $70 million in 2001.
Initially, mega-producer Burnett chose another woman for the role: a thirty-something buxom blond. Corcoran knew her age was working against her. At Monday's More Magazine's Reinvention Convention in New York, Corcoran, in her sixties, shared the e-mail that helped change his mind and land her the gig instead:
From: barbara corcoran
Sent: Thursday, December 18,20084:50 PM
To: mark burnett
Subject: Still Swimming
I understand you've asked another girl to dance instead of me. Although I appreciate
being reserved as a fall-back, I'm much more accustomed to coming in first.
I think you should consider inviting both of us to LA for your try outs. Here are my
1. I do my best when my back's against the wall. I love the heat of the competition as
I've learned it brings out my best. I've had all my big successes on the heels of
rejection and frankly, it's right up my alley. There was Sister Stella Marie in 5th
grade who said I'd always be stupid just because i couldn't read. Then there was
the New York old boy network trying to lock me out of their real estate fortunes,
until I became their largest competitor. Then there was The Donald himself who
wrongly swore in court I'd never see a penny of the $4m commission he owed me
for saving his ass and making the largest land deal in the city's history. And of
course there was my ex-partner Ramoné Simoné who parted with the words, "You
know you'll never succeed without me!" I consider your rejection a lucky charm.
2. If you have both ladies in LA, you can mix it up a bit and see which personalities
make the best combination for your show. I've found in building teams myself that
the combination of personalities is always more important than the expertise or
strengths of single individuals. You may even drop a man for me because, believe
it or not, I'm just as smart and mean as the next guy.
3. Last, I've known from the get-go the shark role is a perfect fit for me. Everything
I've done so far in the business and TV worlds has made me ready. My style is
different than the other sharks' and your audience would fall in love wlth me. I've
watched thirty-seven dragon episodes so far and know I could rival the'best shark
on each show in shrewdness and personality. It seems to me that the same two
sharks steal most of the shows and I know I'd be one of them.
The reputation you have in your field is equal to the reputation I have in mine, Mark. I
know you're the best at what you do and I trust you'll reach the right decision. I've booked my flight for the 6th and hope to be on that plane. .
Barbara Corcoran on not taking 'no' for an answer