Shark Week is an annual, week-long TV programming block at the Discovery Channel, which features shark-based programming. Shark Week originally premiered on July 17, 1988. Featured annually, in July and/or early August, it was originally devoted to conservation efforts and correcting misconceptions about sharks. Over time, it grew in popularity and became a hit on the Discovery Channel. Since 2010, it has been the longest-running cable television programming event in history. Broadcast in over 72 countries, Shark Week is promoted heavily via social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Episodes are also available for purchase on services like Google Play Movies & TV/YouTube, Amazon Video, and iTunes. Some episodes are free on subscription-based Hulu.
|Launched||July 17, 1988|
|Running time||Airs annually for an entire week in Summer|
|Official website||Official website|
The first Shark Week premiered in July 1988, with the first show to air being Caged in Fear. It was created by Steve Cheskin at an off-site meeting in a discussion about ideas to get the fledgling network noticed. Discovery founder John Hendricks immediately said "That's it."  A total of 10 episodes aired. Other shows included Sharks: Predators or Prey, The Shark Takes a Siesta, and Sharks of a Different Color. Due to the programming's success, Discovery decided to continue it.
In 2000, Discovery Channel aired Shark Week Uncaged presented by famous zoologist Nigel Marven as a host. Six million 3D Pulfrich glasses were distributed to viewers in the United States and Canada for an episode featuring an extinct giant shark, which had 3D segments.
The programming has been hosted by notable personalities from other Discovery series. In 2005, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of MythBusters hosted Shark Week, which premiered with a two-hour MythBusters "Jaws Special". In 2006, Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs hosted Shark Week, and two Dirty Jobs episodes were produced to tie-into the programming, titled "Jobs that Bite" and "Jobs that Bite...Harder". That year, a 446-foot-long (136 metres) inflatable great white shark named Chompie was hung from the Discovery Channel's Silver Spring, Maryland headquarters.
In 2007, Discovery Channel celebrated Shark Week's 20th Anniversary hosted by Les Stroud, host of Survivorman. The 20th anniversary included the launch of Sharkrunners, a video game that uses GPS data from tagged sharks in the Pacific Ocean. The program Ocean of Fear aired on July 29.
In 2015, Discovery announced a new, shark-themed weekend that would air on the Discovery Channel. The weekend took place in late August 2015, and contained three different programs. The first program, which aired on Saturday, August 29, was MythBusters vs. Jaws, followed right after by Shark Alley: Legend of Dynamite. The next day, Sunday, August 30, one program aired, called Air Jaws: Walking with Great Whites. The purpose of Shweekend was to increase the shark-related content from previous years and to prolong the summer's shark coverage.
Since its early days, Shark Week evolved into more entertainment-oriented and sometimes fictional programming. By the 2010s, it attracted much criticism for airing dramatic programs to increase viewers and popularity. This fictitious programming, known as docufiction, has been produced in the last few years. Examples of such programs include Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives, Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine, Monster Hammerhead, Lair of the Mega Shark, and Megalodon: The New Evidence. This strategy was successful, especially for the program Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives, as it became one of the most watched programs in Shark Week history, primarily for the controversy and backlash it generated. The mockumentary was based on an ancient giant shark called megalodon, which is now long extinct. The airing of this program fueled criticism by the professionals in the science blogger community, as well as science-advocacy bloggers like actor Wil Wheaton, and resulted in boycott of the network. Since then, Discovery has increasingly come under fire for using junk science, pushing dubious theories, creating fake stories, and misleading scientists as to the nature of the documentary being produced. In early 2015, Discovery President Rich Ross vowed to remove this type of programming from the future Shark Week lineups.
More criticism was leveled at Discovery in 2017 when the network heavily promoted a race between Olympic gold medal winner Michael Phelps and a Great White shark that turned out to be computer generated.
|1994||Peter Benchley|
|2000||Nigel Marven|
|2001||Nigel Marven|
|2002||Nigel Marven|
|2004||The cast of American Chopper|
|2005||Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman|
|2006||Mike Rowe|
|2007||Les Stroud|
|2008||July 27 — August 2||Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage, Mike Rowe||Both a new MythBusters shark special and a shark-themed episode of Dirty Jobs premiered for the event.|
|2009||August 2 — August 8||Les Stroud||The season premiered with Blood in the Water, a recreation of the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916.|
|2010||August 1 — August 7||Craig Ferguson||The programming block featured six brand-new shark specials. It was advertised by the second appearance of the giant inflatable shark attached to the Discovery Channel building nicknamed "Chompie". Shark Week 2010 was rated the most viewed Shark Week ever with 30.8 million unique viewers. Shark Week is now the longest-running program event on cable.|
|2011||July 31 — August 6||Andy Samberg||Programming featured seven specials.|
|2012||August 12 — August 18||Philip DeFranco||"Chompie", the 446-foot-long, great white shark, was once again hung on the Discovery Channel headquarters building. To honor the series' 25th anniversary, viewers were encouraged to vote via Twitter or Facebook on which item a mechanical megalodon shark would crush with its hydraulic jaws in the "Shark Week Chompdown".|
|2013||August 4 — August 10||Josh Wolf||The programming bloc premiered with Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives, a fictitious documentary-style film which hypothesized the megalodon shark existing in present times. The program was heavily criticized for promoting bad science and deceiving viewers. The week was heavily promoted by a popular ad in which a news program covers the return of "Snuffy The Seal" to the ocean, only to see a shark jump out and, supposedly, devour the seal on camera. Each evening of Shark Week, after new episodes aired, a program called Shark After Dark LIVE aired, hosted by comedian Josh Wolf, and featuring comedian Bob Oschack as Bob the Shark.|
|2014||August 10 — August 16||Josh Wolf||The programming block featured fourteen programs, including five Shark After Dark LIVE episodes shown for the first five days after two new programs each night.|
|2015||July 5 — August 12||Eli Roth||The block lasted eight days, and consisted of 14 new episodes, including a special titled Shark Week Sharktacular that premiered on June 23. It highlighted the best moments in Shark Week history, and previewed Shark Week 2015. Also, eight special "Sharkopedia Edition" episodes aired. For the third year in a row, five Shark After Dark LIVE episodes hosted by will premiere on the first five nights.|
|2016||June 26 — July 2||Eli Roth|
|2017||July 23 — July 29||Eli Roth||To celebrate its 29th anniversary, selected U.S. theaters, beginning July 18, showed a "best of" episode from 2016 while also debuting a new 2017 special.|
|2018||July 22 - July 28||Shaquille O'Neal||To celebrate its 30th anniversary, Shark Week is creating a limited edition Shark Week Box for dedicated fans to complement the Shark Week Experience.|
|2019||July 28 - August 4||TBA|||
DVD and Blu-ray releasesEdit
|Anatomy of a Shark Bite||2005||1||1||Bonus Shark Week episode.|
|Bull Shark: World's Deadliest Shark||2006||1||1||Single episode|
|Jaws of the Pacific||2006||1||1||Single episode|
|Shark Week: American Shark||2006||1||1||Single episode|
|Diary of a Shark Man||2007||1||1||Single episode|
|Great White Shark: Uncaged||2007||1||1||Single episode|
|Shark Week: 20th Anniversary Collection||2007||4||14||Various Shark Week episodes.|
|Discovery Channel: Shark DVD Set||2007||Unknown||Unknown||Various Shark Week episodes|
|Shark Week: Ocean of Fear||2008||2||6||The complete 2007 season, the 20th season. Included Ocean of Fear.|
|Shark Week: The Great Bites Collection||2009||2||9||The complete 2008 season, plus three bonus episodes.|
|Shark Week: Jaws of Steel Collection||2010||2||8||The complete 2009 season, the 22nd season, plus two bonus episodes. It features the two-hour documentary titled Blood in the Water, which was the season premiere of the 22nd season.|
|Great White Appetite||2011||1||1||Single episode|
|Shark Week: Restless Fury||2011||2||8||The complete 2010 season.|
|Shark Week: 25th Anniversary Collection||2012||1||4||Four popular episodes of recent seasons are packaged on this set.|
|Shark Week 2013: Fins Of Fury||2013||2||6||The complete 2011 season|
|Shark Week: Predator Of The Deep||2014||1||5||The complete 2012 season|
|Day of the Shark 2||Unknown||1||1||Single episode|
|Shark After Dark||Unknown||1||1||Single episode; not to be confused with Shark After Dark LIVE|
|MythBusters: Jaws Special||Unknown||1||Unknown||MythBusters Shark Week special; includes unaired mini-myths.|
|Sharkbite Summer||Unknown||1||1||Single episode|
|Shark Week: Favorites||
|Unknown||Unknown||Various Shark Week episodes|
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- Cohen, Matt. "The history of Shark Week". The Week. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
- Swenson, Kyle (March 26, 2018) "Stormy Daniels, Donald Trump and 'Shark Week': 'He made me sit and watch'". The Washington Post.
- Fetters, Ashley (August 13, 2012). "The Evolution of Shark Week, Pop-Culture Leviathan". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
- Freed, Benjamin (July 1, 2015). "The Ridiculous, Bloody, Scientifically Questionable History of Shark Week". Washingtonian. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
- Bartless Manufacturer “swims with sharks” in Upcoming 3D Television Event, 3dglassesonline.com, August 11, 2000.
- "Return of "Chompie" In Silver Spring Building Marks 25th Anniversary of Shark Week". July 31, 2012. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
- Dehnart, Andy. "The first-ever Shweekend arrives, but how did Shark Week do?". Reality Blurred. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
- Switek, Brian. "It Came From Basic Cable – Phenomena: Laelaps". National Geographic. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- Welsh, Jennifer. "People Are Boycotting Shark Week Because Of A Fake Documentary About A Giant Shark". Business Insider. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
- "When Wildlife Documentaries Jump the Shark". NPR. August 30, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
- Grant, Bob. "Shark Week Veers Into Fiction . . . Again". The-Scientist.com. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
- de Moraes, Lisa (January 8, 2015). "Fake Stuff Out At Discovery Channel, Promises New Chief Rich Ross: TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
- Lutz, Tom (July 24, 2017). "Viewers angry after Michael Phelps loses race to computer-generated shark". The Guardian. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
- "SHARK WEEK: TV Shows:". Discovery Channel. Archived from the original on September 22, 2012. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
- "Discovery Channel's 23rd Annual 'Shark Week' Is Most-Watched Ever; Seen by 30.8 Million People". TV By the Numbers. August 10, 2010. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
- "25th Anniversary of 'Shark Week Week' to Premiere Sunday August 12 on Discovery". TV By the Numbers. June 27, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
- "Discovery Channel's post on Vine". Vine. Archived from the original on July 12, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
- "'Shark Week' Returns to Discovery Channel August 4 With the Most Hours of Shark Programming Ever". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
- "Shark Week 2013 TV Shows". Discovery. 2013. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
- Rich Juzwiak. "Shark Week Opens with Fake Megalodon Documentary". Gawker. Archived from the original on August 8, 2013.
- Mikkelson, David (June 28, 2013). "Snuffy Film". Snopes.
- Levin, Gary (January 29, 2015). "Shark Week bites earlier in 2015". USA Today. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
- de Moraes, Lisa (June 2, 2015). "Eli Roth To Host Shark Week's Late Night 'Shark After Dark'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (June 16, 2015). "Discovery Channel Announces 'Shark Week' 2015 Schedule". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
- Reyes, Traciy (June 23, 2015). "'Sharktacular': Discovery Channel Thrills Fans With A Sneak Peak Of Shark Week July 2015". Inquisitr. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
- "Listings for 'Sharkopedia'". TV Guide. Archived from the original on July 6, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
- "Shark Week 2017 to Premiere in Theaters".
- "Shark Week Box".
- "Shark Week 2019 Makes a Huge Splash with Over 20 Hours of Shark Programming, Premiering Sunday, July 28 on Discovery". The Futon Critic. May 30, 2019.
- "Shark Week: Jaws of Steel Collection".
- Shark Week on the Discovery Channel website
- Shark Week at the Internet Movie Database
- The Shark Week Box
- What the Discovery Channel Did This Time During ‘Shark Week’ That Has Fans Fuming, The Blaze
- It’s time for Shark Week to redeem itself, Boston Globe
- Shark Week’s ratings show there’s blood in the water, Discover
- More proof a Megalodon did not swim with the Nazis, Arstechnica