By Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist Published Oct 13, 2014 at 3:06 PM

If you watched the first couple of new episodes of "Shark Tank" on ABC – locally WISN-TV Ch. 12 – you may have seen an extra-long ad.

U.S. Cellular teamed up with the show for what it is calling a, "multi-faceted, first-of-its-kind campaign to provide access for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in a way like never before." Basically, a casting call.

With scenes of the lakefront and the Calatrava section of the Milwaukee Art Museum in the background, the cell phone carrier announced the "Shadow Shark Tank" sweepstakes, which provides one lucky winner the opportunity to spend the day on the set of "Shark Tank."

Entry is open to residents of select states between now and Oct. 31 at

If you unfamiliar with "Shark Tank," it is a Mark Burnett-produced reality show where successful "sharks" will listen to a pitch by aspiring entrepreneurs and decide if they want to use their own money to make the investment. The sharks are: billionaire Mark Cuban, owner and chairman of AXS TV and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran, "Queen of QVC" Lori Greiner, technology innovator Robert Herjavec, fashion and branding expert Daymond John and venture capitalist Kevin O'Leary.

"By teaming with ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ this summer for casting calls, we encountered inspiring entrepreneurs from around the country," said Cristel Turner, director of brand strategy and advertising for U.S. Cellular. "Now we encourage all fans of the show to enter the sweepstakes for this exclusive opportunity."

U.S. Cellular sponsored three "Shark Tank" casting calls in cities the show had never visited before, including Milwaukee. The others were Des Moines, Iowa, and Greenville, N.C. Behind-the-scene footage from the casting calls were used in the long commercial and online.

"We were excited to hit the road this summer with U.S. Cellular to hear from entrepreneurs in and around smaller towns, and we were impressed by the quality of the unique business ideas we heard," said Clay Newbill, "Shark Tank" executive producer. "We look forward to giving ‘Shark Tank’ fans a glimpse into the casting process through the behind-the-scenes footage."

GRITTY DRAMA AND PRINTERS INK: There is a reason that fans of the Detective Comics (DC) love mysteries, as some of the most gritty drama and plot turns ever written found a home in "Batman" story lines when he wasn’t facing the next super villain wreaking havoc in the city.

Fox is counting on building upon that fan base with this season’s new cop show "Gotham," dealing with some the early characters that ran Bruce Wayne’s hometown before he took on the mantle of the bat to scare hoods leading a life of crime.

Locally, WITI-TV Fox 6 is weeing week-to-week growth in the audience for the first three showings – which started at a 5.6 household rating for the premier. The second week grew to 6.3 and 7.1 for last week’s episode.

COSTUMES FOR YOUR LITTLE FRIENDS: Animal Planet and Disney team up for a "PETacular special," which encourages fans to show their Disney side by dressing their pets as their favorite Disney characters in a one-hour special hosted by actor and pet lover John O’Hurley (Seinfeld, Family Feud).

The "Disney Side Howl-o-ween" program will air on Saturday on Animal Planet and will feature 101 dogs parading down Main Street, U.S.A., at Walt Disney World Resort.

"Pets disguise themselves as Disney princesses, pirates, heroes and villains; and viewers get treated to the most kooky, spooky hour of TV yet," Animal Planet reported in a release. 

Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist

Media is bombarding us everywhere.

Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.

The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.