watching tv

watching tvTeaching entrepreneurs can be fun and challenging at the same time. The trend of entrepreneurialism has spawned many movies, documentaries and ….wait for it – reality shows.

It’s always inspiring to see how it’s done in “real life”(choke), and while some of these shows are radically dramatized, they all still hold a great deal to learn from-at least from an entrepreneurial standpoint.

Most of these shows are on major networks and previous episodes are usually still viewable online. Others can be found by searching YouTube or you can buy previous seasons on Amazon (or your fav bookstore) if you’re so inclined.

You may not agree with the morals or the tactics conveyed in many of these shows but that’s even a better reason to watch it as a family! Discuss your reasons you agree or disagree and listen carefull to what your teen says. You might be surprised at what comes out of these discussions! Someday your children may really deal with similar issues.

1. ABC’s Shark Tank In its sixth season, Shark Tank is almost too obvious of a choice to list! One of the greatest entrepreneurial teaching tools currently on TV (other than The Profit), it could spark some new ideas and some good discussions, too. Would YOU invest in any of the televised products if you were able? Why or why not? You could even stage your own “Family Shark Tank” as a game.
Find current episodes at

2. Undercover Boss

Undercover Boss is a great show that clearly illustrates how valuable employee input can be when the boss goes undercover as an employee. Learning to look at your business from a different angle can be very enlightening!
Find current episodes at

3. Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares

In its 6th season, Chef Gordon Ramsay has a mission of bringing back life to dying restaurants. Similar to Restaurant Impossible, Ramsay has used his five-star culinary expertise and knowledge to help numerous restaurants on the brink of closure get back on their feet.
Watch episodes at:

4. Restaurant Impossible

Chef Robert Irvine has been faced for 13 seasons with the “impossible” task of turning a failing restaurant around with $10,000 in 2 (two) days. Somewhat dramatic, it seems inevitable that there is always someone or something that receives the lashing from Chef Robert. I guess public humiliation is the price paid for what they accomplish for their restaurants.

*Find an excellent commentary and a list of what can be learned from Restaurant Impossible: Orange Axis: LEARNING LESSONS FROM THE FOOD NETWORK’S “RESTAURANT IMPOSSIBLE”
Find a listing of episodes from 13 seasons at:

5. CNBC Originals
“Revealing, compelling and award-winning, “CNBC Originals”, takes you inside the brands, the businesses and the visionaries that make things happen…make a difference…make history.” This is CNBC’s own description and is also home to several of the other shows listed below (as well as Shark Tank!) Very worthwhile!

6. Make Me A Millionaire Inventor
Top engineers are on a mission to find the best inventions NEVER made. Scouring the country looking for amazing ideas they’re convinced can make big money, they’ll track down the inventors to give them a chance to bring their ideas and dreams to life”. CNBC describes this reality series well and you can find many of the episodes online at:

7. Blue Collar Millionaires – “Meet the millionaires who’ve gotten rich by getting their hands dirty. Learn how guts, grit, and a can-do mindset made them rich beyond their wildest dreams…and find out how they spend their hard-earned millions when they’re having fun.” is CNBC’s description. This reality series can be found online at:

8. God Guns and Automobiles
A reality show that gives the back office view of the running of a successful car dealership. Honest dealing is touted although at times it seems there’s a shade of off color operations. I imagine throwing in a little theatrics in the mix makes for better ratings even though this show didn’t make it past season one. Good watch if you’re interested in the car business. My son is in the business and we both enjoyed the show greatly and learned alot.

Find this on the History Channel

9. This Week in Start Ups – “Jason Calacanis and a rotating group of guest experts bring you this weekly take on the best, worst, most outrageous and interesting stories from the world of entrepreneurship. Calacanis, a podcasting pioneer, gives you an insider’s look at what’s happening in the tech industry with his trademark blunt style and good humor. Looking to start your own company? Need strategies for improving your business of motivating your team? Just want to catch up on what’s happening in Silicon Valley and beyond? Your journey begins here.” This is the description from their site and appears to be a web show or only viewable online. I haven’t had the pleasure of viewing it yet, but Jason Calacanis has a good reputation and I’m looking forward to watching it asap!

10. How It’s Madea long-running classic that’s brought to you from the Science Channel and now streaming on Hulu, How It’s Made has aired continuously since 2001 with 26 seasons. You can find boxed series on Amazon, too. Who wouldn’t enjoy watching how everyday items are made? Could spawn an engineer! One of our family’s favorites. Watch full episodes at:

11. Unwrapped Another family favorite of ours for years, hosted by Marc Summers this is another long running classic (22 seasons!) that shows you from start to finish how the food you eat everyday is made! From breads to chocolate to soft drinks and Ho Ho’s, see inside the factory and how your favorite products are created and packaged. My kids loved it! See and browse the episode guide:

12. The Profit from CNBC, ‘Host Marcus Lemonis Marcus is “The Profit” and will do whatever it takes to fix a failing business—hire people, fire people and even spend his own money’ is probably our favorite show for entrepreneurs! Realize that some of the events have to be staged, there is a wealth of entrepreneurial education available by watching this show. He addresses many types of businesses, from manufacturing to service businesses to retailing, and you can learn from each of them regardless of where your E-urges lie. Watch live episodes at:

13.The Apprentice-I debated whether to include this show on the list due to the sheer theatrics that seem to drive it, what list of entrepreneurial TV shows would be complete without The Apprentice on it? Not finding a proper listing for this show, it appears to have been replaced by Celebrity Apprentice. One source mentioned that the show is temporarily suspended until after the election. Learning conflict management seems to me the primary educational benefit of the show.


Emphasize that having your own reality show is not a sure-fire way to the Oval Office for everyone…. or look to play old episodes at:

Another interesting read; What I Learned From Binge Watching The Apprentice
Find The Celebrity Apprentice here:

Of course there are more shows to be found, not to mention the many fiction shows that portray families in the throes of starting a business. Do you know of one you would like to suggest? Please share with us in the comments below! Thanks!


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