Top 15 Best TV Shows for Entrepreneurs to Watchby Oudraa S
The desire to become an entrepreneur has always been present but since the Covid-19 pandemic, it seems as though the pull to do so has heightened immensely. Some are born entrepreneurs and others realize later in life that it is something they want to experience.
Regardless of the category you fall into, there will be inevitable ups and downs that come with the life of an entrepreneur. As such, it’s always important to find some downtime to release the stresses that come with the role. This blog will highlight the top 15 best TV shows entrepreneurs should watch.
1. Shark Tank (2009 – Present)
Shark Tank showcases a group of incredibly successful entrepreneurs and investors provide a chance for budding entrepreneurs to make their dreams a reality. The five “sharks” or moguls, sit and welcome individuals into the “tank” to pitch their business ideas. The individual will typically explain their business, how and why it is successful and then request the help of a shark to invest in their business.
This could be for scaling opportunities, for guidance, or simply for financial backing. The sharks are able to ask the contestant questions related to their business to weed out those that do not have a stable business plan or trajectory. Sometimes, more than one shark wants to invest in a business and a bidding war will ensue, making for some great television!
This show is great for aspiring entrepreneurs because it motivates you and allows you to see how a business idea can grow into a success story. The cast includes Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Heriavec, Daymond John, Kevin O’Leary, and Mark Cuban.
2. Dragon’s Den (Canada) (2006 – Present)
This show has the same premise as Shark Tank with aspiring entrepreneurs approaching the “dragons”, who are successful entrepreneurs, and trying to get them to invest in their business. The successful businessmen and women listen to the contestants’ pitches and then decide if the business is something worth investing in. They ask questions and also push back on facts or statistics they feel may be embellished.
Although many ideas may be similar, there are many that are not and truly showcase the creativity and tenacity of a person. All pitches can range from something that is in its beginning stages to one that is a full-fledged business looking for more assistance.
The venture capitalists all specialize in certain areas of business, but it is entertaining to see what ideas pique their interest and have them considering a project outside of their expertise. The cast includes Arlene Dickinson, Jim Treliving, Kevin O’Leary (Former), Robert Heriavec (Former), W. Brett Wilson, Michele Romanow, Dianne Buckner, and Bruce Croxon.
3. Startup (2016 – 2018)
This show follows unconventional entrepreneurs that are looking to make it in the tech world. Set in Miami, Izzy Morales creates a revolutionary digital currency that is unregulated called GenCoin. She teams up with a young banker who is eager to break out of the 9-5 lifestyle along with a former gang member, equipped with street smarts. As they attempt to take GenCoin to new heights, the trio is faced with shady business offers, questionable investors and levels of danger they would have never imagined.
The show highlights what many start-up companies go through on the quest to make it big. The show was on for 3 seasons before ending in 2018. Despite coming to an end, many viewers have continued to rally for a fourth season. The cast includes Otmara Marrero, Adam Brody, Edi Gathegi, Martin Freeman, Addison Timlin, Kristen Ariza, Ron Perlman, and Kevin Harrison Jr.
4. Silicon Valley (2014 – 2019)
The show’s co-creator, Mike Judge, says this show was partially inspired by his personal experiences as a Silicon Valley engineer in the 1980s. This comedy series follows the misadventures of a computer programmer alongside his friends who attempt to make it big via a high-tech gold rush. They all live and work together in a house run by a millionaire who allows them to stay in his house rent-free as long as they give him a stake in any projects they invent.
The main character, Richard, starts to run into some trouble when he creates a search algorithm at his day job and becomes enthralled in a bidding war between his boss and a venture capitalist. The show ran for 6 seasons before ending in 2019. The cast includes Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Zach Woods, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanijani, and Amanda Crew.
5. Billions (2016 – Present)
Originally premiering on Showtime network, Billions follows U.S. attorney Chuck Rhoads as he battles a high-stakes game with Bobby Axelrod, an ambitious hedge-fund king. Rhoades has never lost an insider trading case but has to reevaluate his course of action when evidence turns up against Axelrod, his wife’s employer.
His wife refuses to give up her career for her husband’s legal crusade and a standstill is formed. Both Rhoades and Axelrod use their power, intelligence, and influence to outmaneuver the other. The show is still airing with cast members including Damian Lewis, Maggie Siff, Paul Giamatti, Asia Kate Dillon, Condola Rashad, and Corey Stoll.
6. Breaking Bad (2008 – 2013)
Although unconventional, Breaking Bad can still be seen as an entrepreneurial show. High school chemistry teacher Walter White receives a terminal cancer diagnosis and feels his life is turned upside down. To support his pregnant wife and their teenage son, Walter decides that he must find other ways to make money. He decides to pair up with one of his old students and begin running a meth lab from his old RV.
The show takes interesting twists and turns as Walter and Jesse become wrapped in the drug game, going up against some of the city’s top competitors because of their highly potent meth. This show has received numerous accolades and is considered one of the best shows of all time. The show ran for 5 seasons and ended in 2013. The cast included Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Krsten Ritter, Bob Odenkirk, RJ Mitte, Giancarlo Esposito, and Dean Norris.
7. Better Call Saul (2015 – 2022)
This spin-off of Breaking Bad was created by Vince Gilligan. The show was intended to be a prequel to Breaking Bad, focusing on Saul Goodman, the show’s criminal defense attorney. Played by Bob Odenkirk, the character Jimmy McGill (who eventually becomes Saul Goodman) was created to follow the moral and ethical dilemmas of the popular lawyer and how he came to be who he was.
The show has an entrepreneurial feel to it, showing Saul navigating the waters of business in his quest to become successful. The episodes followed both Saul and Mike Ehrmantraut, a retired police officer who became closely affiliated with the Juarez drug cartel. The sixth and final season of the show premiered on April 18, 2022.
8. Billion Dollar Buyer (2016 – 2018)
Tilman Fertitta, the chairman and CEO of Landry’s Inc., is in charge of multiple nationally known dining and entertainment brands. His buying power is vast with an annual budget of $2 billion dollars! From this, he is looking to assist small American business owners in their journey to success. Each episode follows Tilman as he spends time with two small businesses, sampling their products and becoming acquainted with the owners.
After some time together, Tilman makes the decision on whether to place a significant purchase order on one, both or neither of the companies. The main cast member of the show is Tilman Fertitta. The show ran for 3 seasons before ending in 2018. Although it was not officially cancelled, there is no word on whether a fourth season will air.
9. Succession (2018 – Present)
Logan Roy is the aging patriarch of his family and head of international media conglomerate, Waystar Royco. After being the focal point of the business for years, his family has now made it clear that they would like to run the company as they see fit. Despite Logan having a well thought out succession plan, tempers still begin to flare, and dissension erupts.
Logan’s eldest son is the designated heir of the company but as he attempts to solidify his eventual takeover, his other siblings present as roadblocks in the execution of the plan. Talks of business versus family loyalty collide as all members involved attempt to reach their most beneficial resolve. Season 3 of the show aired in December 2021 and it was announced that there would be a fourth season.
The premiere date has not been announced yet. The cast includes Jeremy Strong, Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, Nicholas Braun, and Matthew Macfadyen.
10. The Profit (2013 – 2021)
Marcus Lemonis is chairman and CEO of the multi-billion-dollar corporation, Camping World. The show follows Marcus as he searches for struggling businesses that are in need of cash. He tries to revive a company by offering them cash for a piece of their business and a percentage of the profits.
Once he agrees to give a company money and starts working with them, he does whatever is necessary to save the business and ensure he makes a profit. The show is appealing because Lemonis takes on business-saving approaches that some may consider radical.
His track record speaks for itself as over the past 10 years, Lemonis has turned around more than 100 companies. The show ran for 8 seasons before ending in September 2021. The main cast member is Marcus Lemonis, and the business owners he encounters serve as additional cast members.
11. Planet of the Apps (2017)
Not to be confused with the movie Planet of the Apes, this show had app developers come and pitch their app ideas to a team of entrepreneurs. The goal was to achieve funding to further develop their app and hopefully have it blossom into a success.
The investors hearing the pitches are all well-known musicians, actors, actresses, and moguls in the industry. The show aired for one season before being cancelled. The cast of entrepreneurs included Gwen Stefani, Jessica Alba, Will.i.am, and Gary Vaynerchuk.
12. Dirty Money (2018 – 2020)
A Netflix original docu-series, Dirty Money highlights scandalous and corrupt business stories that have occurred in our society. Each episode exposes the acts of greed and corruption stemming from the actions of powerful business owners and entrepreneurs. Firsthand accounts of the illegal and often immoral activities are recounted from the perspectives of both the victims and perpetrators.
Two seasons have aired so far and although there has not been a cancellation announcement, there hasn’t been any information regarding a third season. As each episode features real-life individuals, there is no set cast.
13. Ballers (2015 – 2019)
This show followers a former superstar football player that attempts to find the same level of success as a financial manager. He tries to set his current clients, football players, up for greater success in the bustling city of Miami. Spencer runs into issues when his boss pressures him to build his clientele of young phenoms and veterans alike by “monetizing his friendship”.
He tries to remain a focal point in each of their lives while navigating the pitfalls that come with being a big-time baller in Miami. The show ran for 5 seasons before ending in 2019. The cast included John David Washington, Arielle Kebbel, Dwayne Johnson, Omar Benson, Jazmyn Simon, and Serinda Swan.
14. Kitchen Nightmares (2007 – 2014)
World-renowned chef Gordon Ramsey hosts each episode of this show as he visits struggling restaurants in the United States, attempting to turn their luck around and save them from closing down. Ramsey takes time to analyze the inner workings of the restaurant to determine what they are doing right and/or wrong.
With help from his team, Ramsey redecorates the restaurant, updates the menu as needed, and provides the owner(s) with tips on how to improve. It is ultimately up to the restaurant to follow his direction and see how well they can heed his advice and save their business.
Ramsey’s ultimate goal is to make the restaurant he visits profitable and popular. Chef Ramsey is the main cast member. The show ended in 2014 after 7 seasons.
15. Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates (2019)
This is a Netflix original docu-series that follows the billionaire business mogul and philanthropist, Bill Gates. In 3 episodes, viewers are able to explore the mind of Bill Gates and his motivations behind each celebrated technological achievement. Entrepreneurs may enjoy this three-parter because it provides an intimate look into the creativity and inner workings of Bill Gates.
You will be able to see how he arrived at many of the decisions that propelled him into success and made him a staple in the world of business and technology. This was a limited series and only aired for one season with three episodes in 2019.
As art typically imitates life, there will always be shows surrounding entrepreneurs and the journey to success. This list is not exhaustive, but it provides a snapshot of some of the most popular entrepreneurial shows that can serve as entertainment or inspiration for your next big break.
If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, keep going! If you are already in the thick of things and just want to take a breather, these shows may help you relax while still keeping you on track. We hope this blog on the best TV shows for entrepreneurs gave you some suggestions.
Comment down below and let us know which ones you’ve seen or any that we may have missed!
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