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Report: ABC orders pilot of Mark Burnett's 'Dragons' Den' adaptation


By John Bracchitta and Christopher Rocchio, 09/05/2008 

Mark Burnett's The Shark Tank will apparently get a chance to show its teeth.

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ABC has ordered a pilot of Mark Burnett's unscripted project, an American adaptation of the Japanese reality series Dragons' DenThe Hollywood Reporter reported Friday.

Burnett had previously inked a deal with Sony Pictures Television to create the pilot of the stateside adaptation in February.

The original Japanese show, which has also been adapted in the U.K. and several other countries, including Canada, gives ambitious entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their plans to the already established moguls -- the "sharks" -- with the goal of landing enough venture capital investment to move their idea forward.

"If you're coming in desperate for money, it's like there's blood in the water," Burnett told Daily Variety in February. "If you want to be a great entrepreneur in the U.S., you had better be ready to swim in shark-infested waters."

Burnett's adaptation of the format will reportedly keep the original show's formula intact. 

Sony had previously attempted to establish a Dragons' Den adaptation in the States about four years ago, according to Variety. However networks were reportedly reluctant to order the show because its format was deemed too similar to that of Burnett and Donald Trump's The Apprentice reality series on NBC.

Then in July 2005, ABC ordered nine episodes of what would become American Inventor, a Simon Cowell-produced reality competition that provided inventors a chance to win $1,000,000 to launch a new business or product.  American Inventor -- which was actually created by British businessman Peter Jones, who served as one of the five "Dragons" on the U.K.'s Dragons' Den -- ended up airing two seasons on ABC in 2006 and 2007.

Earlier this year, Sony Pictures Television programming executive Zack Van Amburg told Variety he wasn't worried about similarities between the two.

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but they got it wrong," he told Variety about American Inventor, which ABC did not renew after its second season.  "I think we have the recipe to get it right.  That show focused on things and products. We're focusing on people and dreams. That will have much more impact."

(Photo credit ABC)


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