Burnett and Sony Enter Shark Tank

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Mark Burnett is stepping into Sony Pictures Television’s “Dragons’ Den,” signing on to create a U.S. version of the Japanese reality format in which aspiring entrepreneurs attempt to convince successful moguls to invest in their ideas, reports Variety.

Burnett has decided on a new name for the format — “The Shark Tank”– but plans to keep the essence of the idea intact.

Would-be business titans pitch their ideas to a panel of already established entrepreneurs — the Dragons, or in the new version, the Sharks. Contestants’ mission is to convince the Sharks to invest money in their concepts in the hopes of raising enough capital to move forward.

“It’s about seeing people squirm, either in their unpreparedness or their lies,” Burnett said.

Producer said the show plays a bit like the early rounds of “American Idol.”

“People come in with an idea they think is brilliant, and it’s awful,” Burnett said. “But then you get the truly inspired ideas, and the Sharks have a chance to fight it out.”

“If you’re coming in desperate for money, it’s like there’s blood in the water,” Burnett said. “If you want to be a great entrepreneur in the U.S., you had better be ready to swim in shark-infested waters.”

Sony and Burnett begin pitching the project to networks later this month.