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Local TV Notes: Beware Sharks And Urban Chickens

1. Tribune: A Visual Perspective On Chicagoland.

2. The Truth About Shark Tank.

"Emory University student Kaeya Majmundar survived the 'sharks' and secured a deal for her invention during ABC's Shark Tank on Friday night," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

"Majmundar, a rising senior, was featured on the show's season finale with her 'BZbox' invention. The BZbox is billed as a durable, collapsible cardboard packing box that doesn't require assembly.

"Lori Greiner, the Queen of QVC, agreed to invest $50,000 in BZbox for a 40 percent stake in the company if it can be marketed as a storage box. Greiner also noted that some aspects of the product need improving.

"Majmundar, a Chicago native came up with the idea two years ago when she and her roommate were packing up their dorm room for summer break. Before BZbox, her parents wanted her to become a doctor, she told the television investors."

*

Majmundar is just the latest in a long line of folks with Chicago connections to appear on Shark Tank - not a surprise given we're the nation's third-largest city.

A warning to Majmundar: Be careful.

Perhaps no contestant on Shark Tank has been as controversial as Scott Jordan, who used to practice law at DLA Piper in Chicago before founding Scottevest, which makes technology-enabled clothing.

Mark Cuban decided his goal on Jordan's episode was to make him cry.

But here's the real rub, as told to Huffington Post:

The reason I went on Shark Tank was because I love the show. I thought it was a great forum for me to introduce my company, my brand and me personally to the world. We're also a fast-growing company, and we needed capital to keep the company growing.

I originally pitched SCOTTEVEST to Shark Tank. TEC is the technology, but the vest is what consumes most of my time.

What I realized in the pitching process was that the producer, Mark Burnett, gets a portion of every company featured, whether they get funding or not.

When I got the materials, I thought 'Wow, am I really willing to give up a portion of a company on track to do $24 million dollars a year to Mark Burnett?'

I did some math to see if the value of that percentage was worth the exposure, and I decided no, I could sell that percentage of the company and buy that exposure and control it.

So, I scratched my head and I pivoted, as you do in business. I decided to pitch TEC instead, but I couldn't go in there and pitch TEC and then start talking about SCOTTEVEST.

That's right - at the time of Jordan's appearance, Shark Tank producers got a percentage of the companies pitched regardless of whether a deal is struck. That's pretty heinous - first, that producers are also getting equity (though they could argue that simply by putting a pitch on the air they are increasing a product's value) and second, that they get equity, um, regardless of whether a deal is struck.

Producers have now struck that clause from the contract all contestants must sign after Cuban threatened to leave the show over it.

Here's Jordan talking about it in February:

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See also:
* 8 Things You Didn't Know About Shark Tank.

* The Chicago Shark.

3. WGN Lays An Egg.

Oops, WGN re-broadcast a show from 2005. Or at least that's what it seemed like when they aired "Chickens in the City: Urban coops growing in popularity" last Thursday.

Gawker has been making fun of the trend since 2007, which means the "trend" is at least seven years old, and the truth is it was barely even a trend then.

In 2009, Jack Shafer named urban chicken-raising as one of his bogus trends of the week in Slate.

Shafer even named the WGN's sister Tribune as a chief culprit in conveying nonexistent nonsense:

For more all-feather, no-bone journalism, see the May 10 Chicago Tribune Magazine, where "Chicken Chic: The Backyard Bird Is Back in Style" claims that chicken keeping is a "craze," is "[w]ay in," and is "a fresh fad." The piece insists that "[m]any an ordinary citizen of many an ordinary neighborhood owns an actual chicken," but never assigns a number to the "many."

This is the paper's second example of crying chicken in recent months. The Dec. 15, 2008, Trib discovers "[s]igns of the burgeoning urban chick movement" in the mere publication of Backyard Poultry magazine, the existence of the urbanchickens.net blog, and the fact that a local workshop on raising your own birds sold out in 48 hours.

Shafer shows how the evidence of this trend has been fuzzy ever since it was first reported - in 1986.

Apparently WGN's Ana Belaval and her bosses never checked the clips. If it had, it would have found at least that the trend in reporting this non-trend is to declare the trend over.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on May 19, 2014


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