Dragons’ Den gets heated, as Lavalife’s Croxon steps in

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The CBC is learning never to upset a dragon.

A case in point: W. Brett Wilson (pictured), who last week failed to agree terms to remain with Dragons’ Den as one of its five hosts.

Wilson 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 on Monday said Lavalife co-founder Bruce Croxon will replace W. Brett Wilson on Dragons’ Den for its upcoming season to debut next September.

The replacement host 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.

“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.