Preview: Newbies breathe life into Dragons’ Den

It doesn’t take long for the newest investors to establish themselves as a trio who belong on Dragons’ Den. Now into its 10th season on CBC, the franchise—following the recent departures of Arlene Dickinson and David Chilton—brought in Joe Fresh founder Joe Mimran, Buytopia co-founder Michele Romanow and Minhas Breweries’ co-founder Manjit Minhas to play alongside Michael Wekerle and cagey veteran Jim Treliving.

And the new casting works.

Returning Wednesday night on CBC, Mimran, Minhas and Romanow aren’t afraid to spar with budding entrepreneurs—and their fellow Dragons—in order to make a deal. Things start off on the right foot when a young man pitches his all-natural drink mixes and four Dragons get into a bidding fray before he settles on one. It’s a tougher road of travel for a dude shilling coconut oil and another who gets a little cocky during the deal stage over his dragon models.

One of my favourite segments of Dragons’ Den returns, as producers spend several minutes catching up with a duo who’d signed a deal with Chilton for their curling pads.

But back to the new kids on the block. Mimran deploys a playful sense of humour to the proceedings, happy to offer his money and advice but equally thrilled to joke around and keep the situation light. Minhas and Romanow are equally at ease, though more reserved than personalities like Mimran and Wekerle, but they’re certainly business savvy. I learned a lot about their passion and smarts from the no-nonsense questions they asked of the entrepreneurs and the enthusiasm—or distain—they displayed during pitches. Romanow’s knowledge of new media lead to a spirited, extended debate with Treliving; he didn’t think it was that important and she did. It made for engaging TV.

Dragons’ Den continues to plug along with a recipe for success that hasn’t changed that much in the last 10 seasons. And by swapping out panelists every once in awhile, they’re keeping the series fresh.

Dragons’ Den airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBC.