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Dragon’s Den welcomes new dragon into den

CBC’s hit program Dragons’ Den announced today that it is welcoming a new addition to its cast for the upcoming sixth season, scheduled to air in spring 2011. Bruce Croxon, co-founder of Canadian dating Web hub Lavalife, will replace Brett Wilson. Croxon—who has worked in a variety of roles at Lavalife, including partner, chairman and CEO—says he’s excited to explore untapped Canadian entrepreneurial talent, but Wilson seems less than thrilled about his departure, releasing a statement saying he would have loved one more season on the show, but his time was cut short by failed contract negotiations. (Did CBC not expect one of its own Dragons to fight for a favourable contract?)

According to a press release for the show, Croxon said he’s looking forward to his new seat in the den. “I’ve always been drawn to start-ups and to the challenges that come with funding early stage businesses,” Croxon said. “All big ideas start somewhere, and I’m really looking forward to the chance Dragons’ Den offers to take part in finding and investing in the best new undiscovered business opportunities the country has to offer.”

Wilson’s on-line statement is more candid, blaming his departure on stalled contract negotiations with CBC, his availability and disagreements over branding of the show. Wilson also hints at clashes between cast members as part of the reason he left. “Known as the philanthropist Dragon who liked to invest in people, not just products, Wilson often faced off with Kevin O’Leary, the voice of unadulterated greed on the show,” the Toronto Star writes. Wilson echoes this sentiment on his website: “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.”

• Why Brett Wilson is leaving ‘Dragons’ Den’ [Toronto Star] • Dragon with a heart leaves the den [W]

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