American viewers are about to get a homegrown version of the TV reality show Dragons' Den, with some Canadian business expertise on board.
To be called Shark Tank, the show will be produced for ABC by Mark Burnett, the man who created Survivor.
Dragons' Den, which has been a hit for CBC-TV in its Canadian version, gives ambitious entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their ideas to a group of experts ready to back a new business with venture capital.
The show originally was created in Japan and has been adapted in Britain, Canada and several other countries.
Kevin O'Leary and Robert Herjavec, both members of the Canadian Dragons' Den team, have signed on to star in the U.S. series.
O'Leary, co-host of BNN's Squeeze Play, is an "eco-preneur" and director and shareholder of EnGlobe. Herjavec, who made his fortune with an internet security firm, now heads The Herjavec Group, which continues his work in the technology sector.
Burnett created a pilot of Shark Tank for ABC and the U.S. network has ordered seven episodes.
"We've been excited about the Dragons' Den format for years, but we didn't go forward at first because we thought it felt too small," ABC reality programming executive Vicki Dummer told the Hollywood Reporter.
She said ABC had considered adding a studio audience and more exterior footage to the show format.
But now the network says the show, as it is, is a good fit for these economic times.
Other investors to be involved with the series include infomercial expert Kevin Harrington, real estate tycoon Barbara Corcoran and FUBU sportswear founder Daymond John, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Burnett said the U.S. show will offer bigger deals and more deals than other versions of the show.
"What country on Earth is more entrepreneurial and risk-taking than the United States of America? Here we have businesses and jobs being created, and it's a great feeling," he said.
The show will likely premiere in the 2009-10 TV season.