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Tyra Banks will star on a Shark Tank-like reality show about startups

Former supermodel, America’s Next Top Model host, and classic horror movie star Tyra Banks will be one of three mentors on a Shark Tank-esque reality series on NBC, Variety reports.

The show, called Funded, will also feature venture capitalist / MTV reality kingpin / holder of 21 Guinness World Records for skateboarding Rob Dyrdek and branding expert Rohan Oza (best known for his work on Vitamin Water) as the other two mentors. Each episode, one lucky startup will be assigned to Team Tyra, while the other two competing startups will be assigned to Team Some Dude and Team Other Dude. At the end of each episode, the teams will pitch to a venture capitalist who will offer only one of the startups a $1 million investment.

dreams come true

NBC calls the show “the first business competition series built around an investment fund,” which is very careful wording! The description neatly steps around the two 800-pound gorillas in the room: the fact that ABC’s Shark Tank exists and is almost the same show, and the fact that the last reality series revolving around entrepreneurship that aired on NBC may or may not have given rise to a fascist demagogue on his improbable but possible way to the White House.

In any case, Tyra Banks helming another reality program — after a whopping 22 seasons of America’s Next Top Model — is a dream come true. She is much better suited to it than she is the talk show format. I pray that her pals Miss J and “noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker” make appearances, that the memes well never runs dry, and that Tyra tolerates as little nonsense from a startup pitch as she did from countless 19-year-olds brow lines. In a comment to Variety, Banks said, “I have spent my life encouraging people to BYOB — Be Your Own Boss. Making everyday people’s dreams come true is what I live for.”

It’s like you read my mind, Tyra.


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