Plenty of drama in CBC’s Dragons’ Den. Ousted Dragon W. Brett Wilson is hot on the spin trail, appearing on Calgary’s Breakfast Television Monday morning to address his departure from the hit CBC reality series. The 53-year-old venture capitalist says he couldn’t come to terms on a couple of key points, including availability (he had a trip planned this spring with his kids) and use of branding to promote Dragons’ Den deals.
There had to be other factors. Wilson has vented to reporters in the past he was a tad fed up with being part of the Kevin O’Leary Show. There might not have been room for all those egos in the Den.
Wilson blamed “junior lawyers” as one reason for the impasse. Asked by BT co-host Tara Slone if things were amicable over at the network, he cryptically cracked, “well, there’s one person at CBC who doesn’t like me but there’s probably 1500 that probably do. So we’re okay.”
Is that one person CBC factual entertainment boss Julie Bristow? CBC programming chief Kirstin Stewart? Don Cherry?
At exactly the same time Wilson was on camera in Calgary, CBC issued a release announcing Bruce Croxon as Wilson’s replacement on Dragons’ Den. Croxon is cofounder of Lavalife, the Internet dating service. All four other Dragons’–Jim Treliving, Arlene Dickinson, Robert Herjavec and Kevin O’Leary–made welcoming statements to Croxon in the release. Only Treliving and Dickinson mentioned Wilson, with Treliving saying, “I’ve had a great time with Brett.”
A bizzare Twitter post late last night from Wilson’s account might have led followers to believe the Calgary-based entreprenuer might want to contact Croxon with a personal proposal or three. The following appeared on Wilson’s Twitter feed during Sunday night’s Oscar telecast:
“when we dine – I will show interest in you – and sex as rough as you like – new to me – but very open minded ….am quite attracted to you.”
The posting sat there long enough for Wilson’s many followers to start speculating that the Dragon had pushed “send” on the wrong account. After several minutes, another statement went up:
“I leave my computer for 5 minutes – a friend jumps on as a joke – and then hits send – major oops – and apologies from Terry – and BRETT!”
Who was this friend–Charlie Sheen? I mean, sure, plenty of plausable denial in the later tweet. Still, interesting how Wilson and his friend type in the same short bursts with dashes and all.
Wilson has a bit of a rep as a ladies man, at times romantically linked to Sarah McLachlan and actress Lisa Ray.
The twit-slip denial comes in the midst of a personal PR push by the former oil and gas tycoon. Besides the BT stop Monday, Wilson worked Calgary’s Dave Rutherford Show on AM 770. He also posted a release on his web site Monday addressing the DD departure, positioning himself as the Den‘s top dealmaker:
“After three years on CBC’s Dragon’s Den doing 60 plus deals in the Den and personally committing over $4.5 million in final deals with 30 Canadian entrepreneurs, W. Brett Wilson, the lead deal making Dragon, confirmed today that he will not return for the show’s next season. With his departure, Wilson is challenging both CBC and the Dragons to take encouraging Canadian entrepreneurship to another level and to constructively criticize, guide and sometimes finance the pitchers venturing into the Den.
Wilson also hinted at starting his own show to celebrate Canadian generosity through philanthropy and indicated he will continue to step-up his own work to raise money for Canadians in need.”
Wilson lists the 30 deals he staked on the series on his site along with a couple of charity ventures he is currently backing. There are several hints he’s looking to do his own TV series. How about Twitter Den? There seems to be a deal there for Lavalife sponsorship. Too steamy for CBC?