Shark Week

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Shark Week
Shark Week.png
NetworkDiscovery Channel
LaunchedJuly 17, 1988 (1988-07-17)
OwnerDiscovery, Inc.
FormatShark-based programming
Running timeAirs annually for an entire week in summer
Original language(s)English
Official websiteOfficial website

Shark Week is an annual, week-long TV programming block created by Tom Golden[1] 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.[2] 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.[3][4] 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+.


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.[5]

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.[6]

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 2014, Deep Blue, a large great white shark estimated to be twenty foot long was featured in an episode of Shark Week, she was seen traversing the waters off the coast of Guadalupe Island.


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.[7]


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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10][11] In early 2015, Discovery President Rich Ross vowed to remove this type of programming from the future Shark Week lineups.[12]

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.[13]

Programming information[edit]

Year Dates Host Additional information
1988 No host
1989 No host
1990 No host
1991 No host
1992 No host
1993 No host
1994 Peter Benchley[14]
1995 No host
1996 No host
1997 No host
1998 No host
1999 No host
2000 Nigel Marven[15]
2001 Nigel Marven[16]
2002 Nigel Marven[17]
2003 No host
2004 The cast of American Chopper[18]
2005 Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman[19]
2006 Mike Rowe[20]
2007 Les Stroud[21]
2008 July 27 — August 2 Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage, Mike Rowe[22] 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[23] 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[24] The programming block featured six brand-new shark specials.[25] It was advertised by the second appearance of the giant inflatable shark attached to the Discovery Channel building nicknamed "Chompie".[6] Shark Week 2010 was rated the most viewed Shark Week ever with 30.8 million unique viewers.[26] Shark Week is now the longest-running program event on cable.[27]
2011 July 31 — August 6 Andy Samberg[28] Programming featured seven specials.[25]
2012 August 12 — August 18 Philip DeFranco[29] "Chompie", the 446-foot-long, great white shark, was once again hung on the Discovery Channel headquarters building.[6] 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".[30]
2013 August 4 — August 10[31][32] Josh Wolf[33] The event began with Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives, a fictitious documentary-style film which hypothesized the megalodon shark existing in present times.[34] 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").[35][36] An aftershow—Shark After Dark Live—was also introduced, hosted by Josh Wolf.[37]
2014 August 10 — August 16 Josh Wolf[38] 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[39] Eli Roth[40] The block lasted eight days,[39] and consisted of 14 new episodes,[41] 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.[42] Also, eight special "Sharkopedia Edition" episodes aired.[43] For the third year in a row, five Shark After Dark LIVE episodes hosted by will premiere on the first five nights.[40]
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.[44]
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.[45]
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 releases[edit]

DVD Name Release
No. of
No. of
Additional information
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.[46] 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

See also[edit]


General references[edit]

  • "Shark Week years". Discovery Channel (Canada). Archived from the original on August 3, 2014. Retrieved August 2, 2014.

Inline citations[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Cohen, Matt. "The history of Shark Week". The Week. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  3. ^ Swenson, Kyle (March 26, 2018) "Stormy Daniels, Donald Trump and 'Shark Week': 'He made me sit and watch'". The Washington Post.
  4. ^ Fetters, Ashley (August 13, 2012). "The Evolution of Shark Week, Pop-Culture Leviathan". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  5. ^ Bartless Manufacturer “swims with sharks” in Upcoming 3D Television Event,, August 11, 2000.
  6. ^ a b c "Return of "Chompie" In Silver Spring Building Marks 25th Anniversary of Shark Week". July 31, 2012. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  7. ^ Andy Dehnart (August 28, 2015). "The first-ever Shweekend arrives, but how did Shark Week do?". Reality Blurred. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
  8. ^ Black, Riley (August 9, 2013). "It Came From Basic Cable". National Geographic. Archived from the original on May 17, 2021. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  9. ^ Welsh, Jennifer. "People Are Boycotting Shark Week Because Of A Fake Documentary About A Giant Shark". Business Insider. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
  10. ^ "When Wildlife Documentaries Jump the Shark". NPR. August 30, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  11. ^ Grant, Bob. "Shark Week Veers Into Fiction . . . Again". Retrieved July 6, 2015.
  12. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (January 8, 2015). "Fake Stuff Out At Discovery Channel, Promises New Chief Rich Ross: TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
  13. ^ Lutz, Tom (July 24, 2017). "Viewers angry after Michael Phelps loses race to computer-generated shark". The Guardian. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  14. ^ Zad, Martie. "Discovery's 'Shark Week' Features Three World Premieres". WP, LLC. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  15. ^ Kelleher, Terry. "Picks and Pans Review: Giants: Sharks". Meredith Corporation. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  16. ^ "How Big a Threat Are Sharks?". Cable News Network (CNN). Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  17. ^ Liebensen, Donald. "6 new documentaries join 15th 'Shark Week' lineup". Tribune Interactive. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  18. ^ Schaefer, Megan (July 14, 2014). "'Shark Week' 2014: Take A Bite Out Of These 12 Facts That You Probably Didn't Know About The Discovery Channel Ser". IB Times, LLC. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  19. ^ Kaplan, Don (July 17, 2005). "Shark Week – Biting Festival Returns for 18th Year". NYP Holdings, Inc. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  20. ^ O'Hare, Kate. "Rowe explores dirty secrets of 'Shark Week'". The Montana Standard. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  21. ^ Bierly, Mandy. "The PopWatch Interview: 'Shark Week' host Les Stroud". Meredith Corporation. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  22. ^ Blas, Lorena. "Shark Week encounters through the years". Gannett. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  23. ^ "Shark Week Is Back... And Its Got Bite! Shark Week 2009 Schedule Released". Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  24. ^ Bettinger, Brendan (June 15, 2010). "Craig Ferguson Will Host Shark Week Starting August 1". Collider Cryptomedia, Inc. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  25. ^ a b "Shark Week: TV Shows". Discovery Channel. Archived from the original on September 22, 2012. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
  26. ^ Walker, Hunter. "Discovery's 'Shark Week' Sets Ratings Record". Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  27. ^ "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.
  28. ^ Nededog, Jethro (August 4, 2011). "'Shark Week' Exclusive: Attack of the Andy Samberg (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  29. ^ "Philip DeFranco + 'Shark Week' = Jawsome". Discovery, Inc. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  30. ^ "25th Anniversary of 'Shark Week Week' to Premiere Sunday August 12 on Discovery". TV By the Numbers. June 27, 2012. Archived from the original on June 30, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  31. ^ "Discovery Channel's post on Vine". Vine. Archived from the original on July 12, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  32. ^ "'Shark Week' Returns to Discovery Channel August 4 With the Most Hours of Shark Programming Ever". TV By the Numbers. Archived from the original on July 14, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  33. ^ "Shark Week 2013 TV Shows". Discovery. 2013. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  34. ^ Rich Juzwiak. "Shark Week Opens with Fake Megalodon Documentary". Gawker. Archived from the original on August 8, 2013.
  35. ^ "Discovery's New 'Shark Week' Ad: Offensive or Funny? (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. June 27, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  36. ^ "Poor Snuffy the Seal is mauled by a Great White in Discovery Channel's Shark Week advert". The Drum. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  37. ^ Yahr, Emily (August 9, 2013). "After the show is the after-show — TV networks look to capitalize on biggest hits". Washington Post.
  38. ^ "Shark Week 2014". Discovery Communications, Inc. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  39. ^ a b Levin, Gary (January 29, 2015). "Shark Week bites earlier in 2015". USA Today. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
  40. ^ a b de Moraes, Lisa (June 2, 2015). "Eli Roth To Host Shark Week's Late Night 'Shark After Dark'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
  41. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (June 16, 2015). "Discovery Channel Announces 'Shark Week' 2015 Schedule". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on June 17, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
  42. ^ Reyes, Traciy (June 23, 2015). "'Sharktacular': Discovery Channel Thrills Fans With A Sneak Peak Of Shark Week July 2015". Inquisitr. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
  43. ^ "Listings for 'Sharkopedia'". TV Guide. Archived from the original on July 6, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
  44. ^ "Shark Week 2017 to Premiere in Theaters".
  45. ^ "Shark Week Box".
  46. ^ "Shark Week: Jaws of Steel Collection". Amazon.

External links[edit]