“Project Pitch It,” a local reality TV show featuring area entrepreneurs and a panel of local business moguls in the style of “Shark Tank,” will return for another season next year.
An entirely new set of entrepreneurs will be featured on the show’s second season, along with four new expert panelists.
The show’s first season premiered in February with a six-episode run on WISN-TV, Channel 12, in Milwaukee and three other Wisconsin stations.
WISN-TV Channel 12 has signed on for a second season, set to air in mid-February 2018. The show will also air on four other Wisconsin stations: WBAY in Green Bay, WISC in Madison, WKBT in La Crosse and WSAW/WZAW in Wausau.
The show is produced by Bev Greenberg, former vice president of Time Warner Cable and current executive in residence at Cardinal Stritch University, and Dean Maytag, former WISN-TV programming executive.
“We’re thrilled that WISN-TV has offered ‘Project Pitch It’ a season two,” Greenberg said. “The show is dedicated to increasing entrepreneurship in the state of Wisconsin. It will educate, entertain and inspire with our fantastic moguls and hopeful entrepreneurs.”
Returning for the second season are three familiar faces from the panel of local business moguls: Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin; Jerry Jendusa, co-founder of business advisory and investment firm Stuck Inc., and founder and former owner of Emteq; and Jim Lindenberg, a serial entrepreneur and owner of Lindy Enterprises and Master Z’s.
The new season will feature seven moguls, up from four in the first season, which will include newcomers Deborah Allen, owner/operator of multiple area McDonald’s restaurants; Tina Chang, chief executive officer of Brookfield-based SysLogic Inc.; Nancy Hernandez, founder of Milwaukee-based ABRAZO Multicultural Marketing and Communication; and David Gruber, founder of personal injury law firm Gruber Law Offices LLC, who has built his own local TV brand by popularizing the catchphrase, “One call, that’s all.”
In addition to more panelists, the new season will feature more episodes, including eight traditional episodes and one that will highlight the success stories of entrepreneurs from the first season. In all, 24 aspiring Wisconsin entrepreneurs will be featured in season two.
The show will follow the same formula as the first season. Three entrepreneurs per episode pitch their business concept to the panel of moguls, followed by the moguls vetting the potential of the ideas. After a discussion to determine which contestant will receive which prizes, the moguls announce the winners.
Greenberg touts the show as having a more nurturing and Midwestern environment than other business pitch events, noting that every contestant walks away with an award.
Three prizes are available per episode, all valued at about $10,000, including mentoring, office space and a cash infusion.
The first season featured several local entrepreneurs, including JoAnne Johnson-Sabir and her husband, Maanaan Sabir, who co-own The Juice Kitchen in Milwaukee’s Lindsay Heights neighborhood. The couple was awarded the $10,000 cash prize.
Since the show aired, Johnson-Sabir has gone on to announce plans, in partnership with developer Juli Kaufmann, to create a hub for entrepreneurs in the former BMO Harris Bank branch damaged by the civil unrest in Sherman Park last year.
Other businesses featured last season included Oshkosh-based Snotco LLC, inventor of a paper strip that prevents paint bleeding; Physical Therapy of Milwaukee LLC, a physical therapy clinic on the city’s south side that offers English- and Spanish-speaking services; and theMINIclassy LLC, a Cudahy-based company that designs and produces high-end street clothes for children.
In its first season, “Project Pitch It” held a 30-minute slot at 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays on Channel 12. The placement for the upcoming season will be announced closer to its premiere, Greenberg said.
The show’s presenting sponsor is Cardinal Stritch University. This season, Steinhafels also signed on as a sponsor, providing its state-of-the-art TV studio at the company’s Pewaukee headquarters complex for the show’s filming.