Pedestrians walk beneath a sign for the musical 'The Lion King' in New York City.
Pedestrians walk beneath a sign for the musical 'The Lion King' in New York City. - 
Listen To The Story

A new documentary airs tonight on CNBC about one of the riskiest bets out there. It's not a stock, or a bond, or a startup company. It's the business of theater on Broadway.

According to Maria Bartiromo, the creator of the documentary "Betting Big on Broadway", 8 out of 10 shows lose money.

"It's tough to actually break out and make money on Broadway," says Bartiromo, "I think investors do it because they love it as opposed to doing it because they think they are going to have an overnight success."

Though Broadway has seen it's fair share of highly successful shows, such as Phantom of the Opera and The Lion King, they are the exceptions says Bartiromo.

So what makes some shows enduring classics while others fizzle out?

"I think it's important to connect with audiences, to entertain. Yes, you want to have a show that has lots of glitz and glamour and great songs, but at the same time, a story is always something that will connect with people," says Bartiromo.

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Follow Jeremy Hobson at @jeremyhobson