'Shark Tank' Week: 'Survivor' creator Mark Burnett jump starts American dreams

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mark-burnett-shark-tank-325.jpgOnce upon a time -- aka Aug. 9, 2009 -- a little show named "Shark Tank" premiered on ABC. Coming onto television in the wake of the 2008 financial crash, it offered entrepreneurs a chance to compete before a panel of high-powered investors for cash -- out of the investors' own pockets -- to jump-start their dreams.

Created by Mark Burnett ( "Survivor," "The Voice," "The Bible"), "Shark Tank" landed on Fridays in March 2011 for its second season, facing one of the most inauspicious days of the week in network television.

But Burnett believed in his little show. Sitting on the set on Oct. 18, 2010, during filming for the second season, he tells Zap2it, "Around 2 p.m. today" -- at the moment, that was about 15 minutes away -- "28 years ago, I got off a plane in America for the first time, with a couple hundred dollars in my pocket. Oct. 18, 1987.

"I only remembered today because I was coming to 'Shark Tank.' I was thinking about these people who are really trying to make something of ideas, with the American Dream. I saw the date, and I was like, 'Wow.' "

Burnett's faith paid off -- by Season 4, "Shark Tank" was averaging 7 million total viewers, regularly winning the coveted adults 18-49 demographic.

On Sunday, Sept. 8, ABC takes a nod from Discovery Channel's megahit "Shark Week" event with "Shark Tank Week." Running until Friday, Sept. 13, it offers fan favorite episodes from the past four seasons. That leads up to the fifth season premiere on Sept. 20.

Top Sharks: Since Season 1, these investors have been the show's mainstays: tech mogul Robert Herjavec; financier Kevin O'Leary; real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran; and Daymond John, founder of the fashion company FUBU. Rotating in and out are billionaire investor Mark Cuban; inventor and infomercial expert Lori Greiner; infomercial expert Kevin Harrington; comedian Jeff Foxworthy; NFL owner Steven "Steve" Tisch; and billionaire philanthropist John Paul Jones DeJoria.
Photo/Video credit: Newscom