PORTSMOUTH, VA – Feb. 1, 2024 – Fresh from celebrating “A First on Victory,” one full year as Virginia’s first permanent casino, Rivers Casino Portsmouth is announcing another FIRST for Virginia.

Rivers Casino Portsmouth, in collaboration with 13 News Now, will host the first-ever Virginia casting call for the four-time Emmy Award-winning ABC-TV series “Shark Tank.”

The Shark Tank Casting Team will be at The Event Center at Rivers Casino Portsmouth starting at 9 a.m. on Friday, April 12. Applications are available online at ABC.com and onsite. Numbered wristbands will be distributed between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., and the first pitches will begin at approximately 10 a.m. Contestants may begin lining up at 8 a.m. that morning.


What to Know Before Diving In

Hopefuls are urged to wow and dazzle the Casting Team and prepare their pitches as if they’re actually appearing on the show. All participants will have an equal opportunity to deliver a one-minute pitch about their business, product, or idea to a member of the Casting Team.

“Show us your passion and personality when pitching, as it really goes a long way when you are excited about what you have created,” said Mindy Zemrak, CSA, Supervising Casting Producer of Shark Tank. “We are very excited to travel to the Portsmouth area and see how entrepreneurship is thriving.” Zemrak has been casting for Shark Tank since Season One.

All applicants must download the Open Call application and bring it with them. The application and more details can be found at: https://abc.com/shows/shark-tank/open-call.

Since Portsmouth and Hampton Roads are East Coast destination markets, producers expect to welcome guests from nearby cities, surrounding states, greater Washington, D.C., and beyond. Prospective contestants historically have traveled considerable distances to attend Shark Tank casting calls.


Season 16 Now Casting

It’s all part of Season 16’s nationwide search to discover the next batch of entrepreneurs, inventors, creators, and innovators who dream of facing the Sharks. Successful candidates may secure investments, business partners, and invaluable mentoring from the notoriously benevolent Sharks.

Or even … spark a bidding war inside the Tank.

“We’re thrilled to host Shark Tank’s first visit to Virginia,” said Roy Corby, general manager of Rivers Casino Portsmouth. “This region is generously populated with inspired and brilliant minds, many of whom will hopefully use this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to land a spot on national TV, swim with the Sharks, and hook a deal.” 

The original Sharks are on board for Season 16 including real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran; billionaire Mark Cuban; “Queen of QVC” Lori Greiner; technology innovator Robert Herjavec; fashion and branding expert Daymond John; and venture capitalist “Mr. Wonderful” Kevin O’Leary.

To preserve the authenticity and integrity of Shark Tank’s on-camera pitches, the Sharks do not participate in casting calls.