Shark Week is an annual, week-long TV programming block created by Tom Golden at the Discovery Channel, which features shark-based programming. Shark Week originally premiered on July 17, 1988. Featured annually, in July 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 and Discovery+.
|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. 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 early 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.
|2004||The cast of American Chopper|
|2005||Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman|
|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 event began with Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives, a fictitious documentary-style film which hypothesized the megalodon shark existing in present times. A marketing campaign for the event launched during Discovery's Skywire Live, featuring a newscast covering the return of "Snuffy The Seal" to the ocean, only to see a shark jump out and devour the seal on camera (carrying the slogan "It's a bad week to be a seal"). An aftershow—Shark After Dark Live—was also introduced, hosted by Josh Wolf.|
|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||Rob Riggle|
|2020||August 9 — August 16||Josh Gates|
|2021||July 11 — July 18||Josh Gates|
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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- "Discovery's New 'Shark Week' Ad: Offensive or Funny? (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
- "Poor Snuffy the Seal is mauled by a Great White in Discovery Channel's Shark Week advert". The Drum. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
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- "Shark Week 2014". Press.discovery.com. Discovery Communications, Inc. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
- 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.
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- 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: Jaws of Steel Collection".
- Shark Week on the Discovery Channel website
- Shark Week at the Internet Movie Database
- 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