One of the things I often wonder when watching the audition process of American Idol, is whether judges reach a point where they’ve heard so many singers that they have a hard time distinguishing the talent from the noise. The same thoughts go through my mind as I watch Shark Tank. With so many ideas being presented to them, how do the “Sharks” (Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary) sniff out the potential in these pitches to weed out the winners from the losers? I suppose their ability to do that comes from a combination of intuition and the experience they have in their field. Regardless, it doesn’t seem like an easy job, but it’s one that makes for a fascinating series.

ABC’s business investment series Shark Tank (based on the series Dragon's Den) returns for its third season tonight. The show features various people hoping to get their business off the ground by pitching their ideas to the Sharks in an effort to land an investment deal with them. In exchange for funding their business, the Sharks obtain a share of the company, so assuming the entrepreneur can grab their interest with their pitch, they also have to try to secure a reasonable deal with them.

Shark Tank manages to turn entrepreneurism and business investment into an interesting reality show, without twisting it into a game show completely. In addition to getting to see how entrepreneurs attempt to pitch their ideas, we’re given some insight into the mindset of billionaire Mark Cuban, real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran, tech innovator Robert Herjavec, and the other Sharks as they share their concerns, questions and business know-how when picking over the pitches.

Below are a couple of clips from the third season, which premieres tonight (Friday, January 20, 2012 at 8:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

The show checks in with Season 2’s Jason and Mike to see how their business is doing since appearing on the show...



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