ABC's fan-favorite show Shark Tank has been renewed. We're already big fans of the nail-biter here at WalletPop, since we've been bringing the world the program's only post-show interview series, AfterShark, in which we talk game with all the players. But for the second season, there will be a twist. A new Shark will join the ranks: comic Jeff Foxworthy.
The show, if you don't already love it, has inventors and businessmen pitching their ideas to five millionaires. The five regular sharks include fashion magnate Daymond John, Mr. Burns lookalike Kevin O'Leary, and our very own Barbara Corcoran -- but for three episodes of the next series, they will be joined by Mr. Blue Collar Comedy himself.
Because I'm the host of AfterShark, people have been asking me: What do I think about adding Jeff Foxworthy to the investment panel? My answer: If you think he doesn't belong among moguls, you might be a redneck.
Or at least you buy his redneck act. Foxworthy is way smarter than a fifth grader. As Forbes put it, "Foxworthy is the linchpin of a multi-million-dollar empire and the top-selling comedy recording artist of all time. In the last year, the Atlanta native earned an estimated $11 million."
It may seem slightly cynical to pack the bench with Hollywood names in an effort to collect (much-deserved) ratings, but it's not a performance gamble. Foxworthy is known to deliver. Shark Tank's producer, Mark Burnett, knows what he can do on camera, since he also produces CBS's Survivor, NBC's The Apprentice, and Foxworthy's other gig, Fox's Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?. (Come to think of it, with a big show on every major network, maybe Burnett should be sitting in the Tank.)
Check out Foxworthy's résumé: Georgia Tech dropout. IBM IT dude. Then he won a contest at a stand-up comedy club. Now, after some 26 books, 15 million records, and a stroke of roadshow genius with the Blue Collar Comedy circuit, he fetches a quarter of a million per night for bookings.
He's also got bones in the business world. He created one of Walmart's best-selling greeting card lines. He has produced, Forbes says, TV specials, calendars, DVDs, casino games, and his own beef jerky and barbecue sauce -- which may put him at odds with Corcoran, who sired Pork Barrel BBQ during the first season of Shark Tank. In merchandise alone, Forbes reports, Foxworthy earned $1 million last year.
The man gets business, and he knows how to connect with the average Joes who are going to parade their fool-brained ideas before him. If anything, Shark Tank will give Foxworthy a welcome image makeover, and maybe Americans will start to realize that atop that red neck sits a business brain to be reckoned with.
He'll also add some laughs, which is something that dry-as-toast Kevin Harrington can never do (at least not intentionally), and he'll bring a little more Yank to the Tank, since two-fifths of the panel (O'Leary and tech titan Robert Herjavec) are Canadians who also appear on the Canadian version of the program, called Dragon's Den there.
You can see episodes from the first season of Shark Tank on Hulu by going to www.hulu.com/shark-tank. Our incisive AfterShark series can be found at its home here on WalletPop: www.dailyfinance.com/after-shark-tank.
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