There are no sharks in Midland, Texas, but there is something even scarier: a cigar-chewing, beer-swilling man named Rooster McConaughey.
That’s right, the self-made multimillionaire brother of Matthew has a new Shark Tank-style series called West Texas Investors Club, which premieres on CNBC Tuesday. The show features McConaughey and his business partner Butch Gilliam as they field pitches from hopeful (and, at times, sweaty) entrepreneurs in the hot heart of West Texas. EW spoke to Rooster about the show, his penchant for drinking beer during business hours, and the odds of his brother coming on the show.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So how did the show come about?
ROOSTER MCCONAUGHEY: Butch and I have been investing for years and years, so we wanted to do the show here in Texas, just like we have. So these people come in a pitch us, and we put them through these challenges to test their product and their personality. It’s really just to get to know ’em better and see if they can handle a little controversy.
And then we bring them in the third day and ask ’em, “Why do want so damn much, you sonuvabitch!” They come in wanting these wild-ass prices they want, so we start a negotiation with them.
So it’s more about testing the person than the idea?
If you’ve got a chicken — guy, why would you want to be partners with him?! We don’t have to do this. It’s not something we gotta do! If it’s not going to be a match, hell, we don’t want to do it anyway. Like I say, I’d rather have fun losing money than being miserable making it.
During a lot of the negotiations, you and Butch are sitting there drinking beer and smoking cigars. Is that an intimidation tactic?
I only chew on ’em! It keeps me from dipping. I’ve been chewing cigars for I don’t know how long — 30 years, or something like that. So I just chew ’em. And the drinking beer, well … I’ve made a hell of a lot more better deals drinking beer than I did not drinking beers. I don’t know if it’s got something to do with loosening you up or what, but it works.
Is there any chance of your famous brother Matthew coming on the show?
I don’t know, I have to let him see it first. He might not want nothing to do with it — or he might be crazy about it! Who knows.
Maybe he’ll pitch you an idea.
[Laughs] If he wants to pitch an idea, that’d be fine. He’s got some good ones!
A version of this story appeared in Entertainment Weekly issue #1375, on newsstands now or available for immediate purchase here.