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Barbara Corcoran is a pro at doling out business advice on ABC’s Shark Tank, but when it came to playing a fictionalized version of herself on Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva, the real estate mogul found the job a little intimidating.
Her story line in Sunday’s episode finds her giving advice to Stacy (April Bowlby) about her business, The Pakery.
“This was my first acting experience, and based on the job I did, I think it will be the last,” Corcoran quipped in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I was nervous, flubbing my lines, doing them again and again and again. I can’t imagine looking good, really.” (While the charmingly self-deprecating businesswoman remains humble about her acting skills, she can rest assured that she has nothing to be embarrassed about.)
Ahead of her episode premiere, Corcoran talked to THR about why she signed on for the role, her love for the show and why she’s sticking with unscripted TV from now on.
The Hollywood Reporter: How did this guest-starring role come about?
Barbara Corcoran: I am a fan of the show, but then who isn’t? I got a call out of the blue, asking if I would consider a guest spot. It also happens to be the favorite show of three of the most loved people in my life — two nieces and also my stepdaughter — so I had to say yes.
THR: Are they excited to see your show?
Corcoran: I haven’t told them. I’m going to call them the morning of; they’re all busy and I want to make sure they see it. I’m going to surprise them, and we’re going to watch it together.
THR: Was it less intimidating since you were playing yourself?
Corcoran: Remember, I wasn’t really playing myself. I was playing myself as a shrewd operator, as a shark; it was half real and half not real. It felt like acting because I had a script. What’s great about reality TV is you say something only once, and you say whatever you want. But I realized when I got this gig, with scripted TV, I must have said every line 30 times — different angles, different intonations, different camera people — again and again and again. I’m never going to see a scripted show anymore without thinking that the actors are being underpaid. It’s hard work. Reality TV is so much easier.
THR: Was the cast helpful in preparing you?
Corcoran: The minute I stepped onto the lot, everybody was acting as if they were waiting for me. They were so warm and welcoming. I got lucky because they all happen to be Shark Tank fans. After being on the set, I’m the biggest fan of Stacy because [Bowlby] was so terrific on the set. She’s a real pro. I was awestruck at how good she was. It was the first time in my life I wasn’t jealous of someone who looked as good as she looks. [Laughs.] That speaks a lot to her spirit. She was enormously generous in helping me out.
THR: Will you be pursuing any more acting jobs?
Corcoran: Let me tell you, I can’t imagine anyone inviting me. We’ll see, but I think reality TV is for me.
THR: You’ve already started filming the next season of Shark Tank. Anything you can reveal?
Corcoran: We have two new sharks, as you know [Steve Tisch, chairman and executive vp of the New York Giants and partner at Escape Artists Productions, and John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of the Paul Mitchell line of hair products and the Patron Spirits Co.]. There are a couple of other surprises, but I’ve been forewarned not to spill the beans.
Drop Dead Diva, from Sony Pictures Television, airs at 9 p.m. Sundays on Lifetime. Watch a preview of Sunday’s episode below.
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