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5 Shows like Dragons’ Den: All Fired Up!

Nicola Griffiths itcherIf you’re looking for a show with all the tension and drama of an entrepreneur’s bane like ‘Dragons’ Den’, you should definitely cast your gaze towards ‘The Profit’, ‘The Rebel Billionaire’, ‘Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares’ and ‘Frankenfood’. ~ Nicola Griffiths

From Pitches to Riches

Since its inception in 2005, ‘Dragons’ Den’ has become a firm favourite on British television. With millions tuning in week-in and week-out to see which business ideas and inventions would earn the coveted £250,000 investment and which would be met with the dreaded cry of  “I’m out!”, this show is entertainment for all ages.

Setting a precedent for TV series that would put the spotlight on small business owners and entrepreneurs wanting to break into the big time, it had people in households up and down the country scrambling to come up with ‘the next big thing’.

The pitches witnessed by the panel of ‘Dragons’ over the years were undeniably hit and miss, with the toe-curling awkwardness of a failed presentation being as much of a draw as an unexpected stroke of genius. These TV shows like ‘Dragons’ Den’ show the lengths that people will go to be successful in their field of choice.


Shows Similar to ‘Dragons’ Den’…

‘The Profit’ (CNBC, 2013-Present)

‘The Profit’ is a TV show like ‘Dragons’ Den’ where CEO and billionaire Marcus Lemonis selects a new business to help each week  (with a much-needed cash injection). The twist here being that rather than focusing on start-ups, the companies in ‘The Profit’ are on their last legs, with the uncertainty around their futures fraying tempers and shredding nerves.

More often than not, rather than welcoming Lemonis’ advice and investment with open arms, drama and friction ensue as the weekly battle of wills between the old and new way of doing things, erupts.

It’s certainly an eye-opening watch and you can’t help but feel sympathy towards the business owners, but as soon as the bombastic music kicks in, you’ll be just as keen to witness the spark that ignites a full-blown row as the rest of us.

Similarity Match: 90%
In both ‘Dragons’ Den’ and ‘The Profit’, livelihoods are at stake, but those with a nervous disposition may feel more at home with the nuanced BBC approach to the genre.

‘The Rebel Billionaire: Branson’s Quest for the Best’ (Fox, 2004-2005)

Another TV show like ‘Dragons’ Den’ that tests the nerve of potential business partners to the limits comes from Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of Virgin Worldwide.

‘The Rebel Billionaire: Branson’s Quest for the Best’ challenges 16 contestants to a series of not only boardroom-based tasks, but also whisks them off to a different country each week to complete daredevil stunts, endurance tests and everything in between, in hopes of impressing Branson and eventually winning the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.

It was an interesting, if short-lived, take on the genre, although it was initially criticised for it’s rather glaring similarity to an existing television programme that featured a prominent business figure and a team of aspiring associates

Similarity Match: 85%
It’s a show like ‘Dragons’ Den’ that offered potential new business partners a chance to shine, whether that can be done whilst hurtling to Earth from a plane, however, remains to be seen.

‘Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares’ (Channel 4, 2004-2014)

‘Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares’ is a business-centric TV show like ‘Dragons’ Den’, but it is one that is undoubtedly at the more explosive end of the genre. Starring everyone’s favourite potty-mouthed chef, Gordon Ramsay, as he travels across the UK and America, providing a much needed shake-up to ailing restaurants in hopes of reversing their downturned luck.

In a similar vein to both ‘Dragons’ Den’ and ‘The Profit’, his presence isn’t always welcomed in some establishments. Some choose to openly ignore his advice, while others take to social media to blast Ramsay after he deemed that they were beyond help.

Similarity Match: 80%
There is certainly never a dull moment where ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ is concerned, but some may find Ramsay’s expletive-laden delivery a little unpalatable when compared with that of ‘Dragons’ Den’.

‘Frankenfood’ (Spike, 2014-Present)

The restaurant industry has opened up a whole new field in business-based television, and ‘Frankenfood’ is no exception. It is a TV show like ‘Dragons’ Den’ where contestants from all walks of life pitch their weird and wonderful culinary combinations to a panel of experts, with the hope of their unique dish earning a a place on the menu of a local restaurant (as well as a tasty $10,000 prize).

It is certainly not one to watch if you’re hungry (trust me, your dinner will look terribly underwhelming in comparison), but the judges on the panel are always in good humour so any shocks that could be found here are kept strictly to whatever is on the plate.

Similarity Match: 75%
The stakes in ‘Frankenfood’ aren’t quite as high as in ‘Dragons’ Den’, but fans will appreciate the twist on the structure of pitching to a panel of experts.


If You Like ‘Dragons’ Den’, You Will Like…

Fans of ‘Dragons’ Den’ will have, no doubt, come to appreciate just how much of a minefield it is for a business to become successful, something which has not gone unnoticed by the writers of one particular start-up based comedy series.

‘Silicon Valley’ (HBO, 2014-Present)

Turning the idea of a TV show like ‘Dragons’ Den’ on its head, ‘Silicon Valley’ follows a mismatched team of programmers trying to found a successful startup company in California’s cutthroat digital hub, Silicon Valley.

Having stumbled across an algorithm that could revolutionise the way we stream content, the reclusive creator, Richard Hendricks, is soon at the centre of a bidding war for his discovery and quickly finds himself and his associates (that all reside within a hostel known as, ‘the incubator’) way out of their depth when it comes to business relations.

‘Silicon Valley’ offers a wry look into the tech industry, and one that allows us to see what would happen if that dream investment did happen to fall into your lap without the help of a ‘Dragon’ to show you the way.


What Do You Get When a Dragon Sneezes? Out of the Way

If you’re looking for more TV series like ‘Dragons’ Den’, then perhaps a little-known show called ‘The Apprentice’ might be worth your time? If you’re looking for more goings-on outside the boardroom though, then ‘The Secret Millionaire’ or ‘Undercover Boss’ may be just the ticket.

Have I missed any TV shows like ‘Dragons’ Den’?

Let us know in the comment section below.

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