Canada’s “Dragons’ Den” gets new denizen

FirstEnergy Capital Corp. co-founder W. Brett Wilson (pictured) leaves the CBC's version of the Den, to be replaced by Lavalife co-founder Bruce Croxon.
March 2, 2011

Following last week’s announcement that he was leaving the cast of the Canadian version of Dragons’ Den, W. Brett Wilson (pictured) on Monday challenged the CBC to retool the popular reality TV show or face a rival TV show that celebrates Canadian entrepreneurs.

“I challenge CBC and the Dragons to ensure that the show’s momentum in celebrating, encouraging and fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship across Canada doesn’t get lost in faux-business conversations with theatrical rudeness and irrelevant commentary and advice when the real opportunity is to encourage, participate and share in the entrepreneurs’ journeys,” Wilson said in a statement issued on his personal website.

“I want to celebrate [entrepreneurs] and hopefully inspire others to give something back. I hope a national broadcaster will see merit in participating in such productions,” he added.

The CBC on Monday said Bruce Croxon, co-founder of Canadian dating site Lavalife, will replace W. Brett Wilson on Dragons’ Den for its upcoming season to debut next September.

The replacement Dragon follows crunch contract renewal talks between the CBC and Wilson that failed to clinch a new deal.

“We’d like to thank Brett for his many contributions to Dragons’ Den over the past three successful seasons and the positive influence he’s had on Canadian entrepreneurs,” Julie Bristow, executive director of factual entertainment for the CBC, said last week on news Wilson was leaving the show as the other four hosts renewed their contracts.

Wilson, who is a major Calgary philanthropist after making a bundle as co-founder of FirstEnergy Capital Corp., said his failed contract renewal talks with the CBC hinged on more than money.

“The contract re-negotiations were complicated. The key issues were my availability and the use of show branding to promote Dragons’ Den deals,” he said in his website posting.

“We fell short for several reasons, but mostly we just ran out of time, for which I’m obviously disappointed,” he added.

The CBC was unavailable for comment at press time.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.