Given the tremendous success of Shark Tank, it’s a genuine shock that no one has tried to spin off a Shark into their own show until Money Court. The new CNBC series features Shark Tank‘s Kevin O’Leary, going from would-be investor to mediator as he handles other people’s financial arguments in his trademark blunt style.
Money Court is essentially a hybrid of Shark Tank and Judge Judy. It’s one-part financial crash course, one-part court show, and O’Leary is as unflinching and no-nonsense with the participants as Judge Judy Sheindlin has ever been. The personality of the show rests on his shoulders, with one-liners like “I feel real warm and fuzzy about this.”
The series premiere “Million Dollar Decision” opens with a whopper of a case in which a man wants to sell his family’s home to fund the next phase of his business. If that’s not crazy enough, it comes out quickly that he’s already done this once before! Rather than argue for an investment, the guy has to convince Kevin that his idea is so great, it’s worth moving his wife and two kids into a rental.
It’s easy to see why CNBC chose this case to start the series off because it’s more layered than the usual cases TV fans are used to on typical court shows (i.e. unpaid loans and cell phone bills). While court shows are driven by whoever’s presiding over them, the cases have to give the stars something to chew on, and so far Money Court has come up with material interesting enough to be worth Kevin’s time, as well as the viewer’s attention.
The one thing that could make the show better is if it took a page from Judy Sheindlin’s other series Hot Bench, and Katie and Ada had actual votes on the decision as opposed to just being advisors to Kevin. CNBC has found two people who are effective foils to Kevin but are also worth watching in their own right. They ask strong questions during the case and have great personalities. That’s critical to the show’s success, because as on Shark Tank, Kevin is at his best when there are people he can bounce off of.
However, given that many people will likely be tuning in to see Kevin O’Leary, and because going to a three-judge format would mean Money Court would have to carve out time in each episode for the trio to talk out their verdict, the way it’s set up now makes sense to start. Perhaps a second season can expand Ada and Katie’s roles so that everything doesn’t come down to Kevin.
Until then, Money Court is a fun diversion for anyone who loves Shark Tank, courtroom shows, or dry wit. It’s also a change of pace from CNBC’s other original shows, which are mostly docuseries, so that makes it an even stronger addition to the network’s primetime lineup.
Money Court airs Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on CNBC.
Article content is (c)2020-2021 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr, on Instagram at @BFTVGram.