A Double Dose of Estrogen on the 'Shark Tank' Investor Panel Prompts Girl Power Chat

Dru Moorhouse
Fall TV

"Shark Tank" investors Lori Grenier and Barbara Corcoran will finally go head-to-head in tonight's season premiere of the business-based reality series.

Traditionally, the women have played musical chairs, alternating in the seat between Kevin O'Leary and tech guru Robert Herjavec.

This season, however, both women are appearing together, on either side of Mr. Wonderful.

"It's been maybe two years overdue, in my opinion, but we're happy we're here," Corcoran said Wednesday on the set of the Emmy-nominated reality show, now filming its fifth season.

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"When we were the token woman on the set, it [sent] a very bad message … to the young girls at home," added the real estate mogul. But now, in the opening of "Shark Tank," "you see two females on a set of guys looking like they're smart like the guys — right away, that is half the power of having two women on the set."

When it comes to making deals, though, Greiner insisted, "we are gender blind. We're sharks. I don't go into the Shark Tank and think, 'I'm a woman in business.' I'm a person in business."

"Not me," countered Corcoran. "I always use the female card whenever I can."

FUBU founder Daymond John agreed: "Barbara always does the girl-power thing."

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While the women have yet to partner this season, O'Leary has already done "several deals" with Greiner this season. "I love her," he said, admitting that she's finally "opened my eyes" to the power of the QVC platform.

"She's a very, very focused saleswoman, and I like that. I'm a sales guy, so we get along."

"They have different ways of negotiating," explained John. "Lori is very rigid and very laser-focused. Barbara is too — but she goes about her negotiation like the wandering Colombo, Mr. Magoo, and then all of a sudden she comes back and she nails you."

The double dose of estrogen has "changed the dynamic because the smartest shark is not there at the moment," quipped John, whose seat is being warmed by Corcoran. Still, he said, "Barbara and Lori [are] really brilliant.… I'm not certain if I want to be on that panel with both of them, because I tend to lose a lot of deals to both of them."

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"I would've thought it would be a lot more confrontational, but I think they get along well," said Herjavec.

Corcoran agreed. "On the set we have no contention, really — but we should! It would be better for the show, because everybody would like to see at least one shark fight between the girls."

But Mark Cuban argued that all is not sugar and spice between the female investors in the Shark Tank. "I think it's more confrontational.... I think they go at it."

While the Dallas Mavericks owner describes himself as "gender agnostic," the female panelists believe that some aspiring entrepreneurs are openly sexist.

"Every once in a blue moon, I'll see a guy come in that will not even look me in the eye," revealed Greiner. "He will only look at Mark or the guys, and it's a bad sign, because you know he's probably a little chauvinistic."

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And even some female contestants are partial to the men, Corcoran said. "A lot of the women, believe it or not, really want a strong guy in their court more than women."

O'Leary is also biased — in favor of the opposite sex. "My best deals are all with women," he stated. "Women are better entrepreneurs than men. They're more focused; they take less risk. They execute better, they set goals, they meet them. That's not how guys work. They're distracted, they take risks.… I'm investing in women — that's it. They're the ones that are making me money."

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"We work our a--es off," agreed Greiner, and that carries over to her relationship with Corcoran on "Shark Tank."

"We're both women — we're strong, smart women. We have to respect each other [for] being where we are."

And, she added, "I do think we have fun together."

"Shark Tank" airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on ABC.