This is purely speculative, of course, because I have no inside knowledge of how the corporate minds behind Shark Tank actually work. But it’s clear that Matt Higgins, an unknown to most of us non-sports folks until his guest appearance Sunday night, fits the program, and if one of the Super Six decides to make a graceful exit — or welcome another, to make it a rotating cast of the Super Seven — Higgins might just be perfect for the slot. Here’s why.
1. He’s Young
That’s not to say that the other sharks are old, exactly — the two youngest, Daymond John and Lori Greiner, are both 49 this year if Wikipedia to be believed — but at age 44 Higgins can be seen as young enough to make a fresh transition into a television career. It’s a new phase; far be it from me to say anything has an age limit, but Higgins feels like new blood, who would be willing to put in a few years of time on the program. Unlike, say, Richard Branson, who might pop in for tea and then retreat to his private island.
2. He’s Smart
Did anyone see that look on Lori’s face when Higgins was peppering the proprietor of Beyond Sushi with those detailed questions? It was either, “well, you’re here to play,” or “s–t, you’re my competition on this deal,” or “maybe I should partner with this guy.” It’s true that Higgins isn’t just a sports guy, or a politics guy: he’s also an investor, an experienced one, in the real world. So he comes to the show with a bit of heft behind him, not just because he built his own company, but invested in others.
3. He’s Nice
Higgins was intensely likeable on the program, not just because of his compelling back story. He was nice to the entrepreneurs, supportive without gushing. Kevin O’Leary’s well-trodden line about “why are you encouraging them?” fell flat in the face of Higgins, who seemed to have no problem demonstrating that a few kind words are not the same as advising someone to sink their entire life savings into what is a dying endeavor. He was nice without being television-charismatic nice; he doesn’t come across as a schmoozer, even if in real life, he may be exactly that. It’s hard to argue with a guy who took care of his ailing mother.
I’ve said repeatedly I don’t want any of the permanent sharks to leave anytime soon, but with Matt Higgins I feel like I’ve seen a guest shark I actually hope comes back on the program. This year, or even more frequently, next.