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Crowdsourcing's New Platform: Prime-Time Reality TV

Crowdsourcing's New Platform: Prime-Time Reality TV
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The red-hot industry of crowdsourcing is spreading its tentacles, this time into reality TV.

CNBC is launching a prime-time television series based on the idea of making decisions by soliciting opinions from a large group of people. The show will premiere on Tuesday, May 14, the Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based cable television station announced today.

Related: Want to Harness the Power of the Crowd? Consider These Tips

Called Crowd Rules, the new show will air at 9 p.m. EST. Small-business contestants will have an opportunity to compete for a $50,000 prize. In what is being dubbed a “reality competition series,” a 97-member studio audience will vote on who gets to take home the prize money each week.

Entrepreneur jewelry designer Kendra Scott, local television anchor Pat Kiernan, and one other rotating, industry specialist will ask the featured small-business owners questions so that the audience crowd can learn about the individuals and their ventures.

Related: Crowdopolis: Crowdsource Like the Big Guys

Each episode will have a theme. For example, the season premier will involve three small specialty food businesses: Teaneck, N.J.-based pickle company Pickle Licious, Key Port, N.J.-based ice-cream company Mr. Green Tea, and Wyckoff, N.J.-based spicy-food themed Heartbreaking Dawns. The token expert for the first episode will be Elizabeth Chambers, a correspondent for E! News and founder of the sweets shop Bird Bakery in San Antonio, Texas.

Crowd Rules is not the first time producers have turned to the excitement and energy of entrepreneurs seeking funding to make reality television. It follows on the heels of ABC’s reality television show, Shark Tank, which features entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to a panel of wealthy investors, known as "the sharks."

Related: 3 Ways to Amplify Small-Business Marketing with Crowdsourcing

Would you consider putting yourself and your business on the national stage in a reality TV show? Leave a note below and let us know.  

Catherine Clifford is a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com.

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