|Premiered||July 17, 1988|
|Running time||Airs annually for an entire week beginning in either July or August|
|Official website||Official website|
Shark Week is an annual, week-long TV programming block created by the American television network Discovery Channel, which features shark-based programming. Shark Week originally premiered on July 17, 1988. Held annually, normally in July or 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. Now broadcast in over 72 countries, Shark Week is promoted heavily via social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Episodes of recent years are also available for purchase on services like Google Play Movies & TV/YouTube, Amazon Instant Video, and iTunes. Some episodes are free on subscription-based Hulu.
Since its early days, Shark Week has evolved into more entertainment-oriented and sometimes fictional programming. In recent times, it has 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 Megaladon: 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 an uproar by viewers and by the science and science-loving community. It eventually started a Discovery Channel boycott. 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 October 2014, Rich Ross became the new president of Discovery. Later in early 2015, he vowed to remove the so-called "docufiction", which are fake and dramatized documentaries, from the future Shark Week lineups.
- 1988: The first ever Shark Week premiered July 17, 1988, with the first show to air being Caged in Fear. A total of 10 episodes aired. Other shows include Sharks - Predators or Prey, The Shark Takes a Siesta, and Sharks of a Different Color.
- 1989: Due to the success of the first Shark Week, Discovery decided to continue it. Programs such as Shark: Maneater or Myth?, Shark Hunters of Achill Island, and Sharks of San Francisco aired in 1989.
- 1990: New shows that aired include Shark!: The World of Sharks and Barracuda and Sharks: Hunters of the Oceans.
- 1991: This year was referred to as Shark Week: The Revenge. Shows to air include Shark Shooters, Sea Lovers, and Great Shark Hunt.
- 1992: This year was branded as Shark Week: They're Back. Shows to air include The Man Who Loves Sharks (showcasing scuba diver and underwater producer Stan Waterman), Sharks of Polynesia, Great White Encounters, and Great White! Parts 1 and 2.
- 1993: This year was called Shark Week: We Dare You to Watch. The programs to air included African Shark Safari, Sharks on the Brink of Extinction, Teeth of Death, Assignment Adventure, and Sharks of Pirate Island.
- 1994: Jaws author Peter Benchley hosted Shark Week 1994. This was the first year ever Shark Week had a host. New programs were introduced at locations where Jaws was filmed.
- 1995: Programs to air included Sharks of the Red Triangle, Rendezvous at Ningaloo, and In Search of the Golden Hammerhead (this was the first time this rare shark was aired on television).
- 1996: Shows to air include The Ultimate Guide: Sharks, Danger Beach, and Tales of the Tiger Shark, which is the third most watched Shark Week program ever.
- 1997: Shark Bites: A Decade of Shark Week aired this year, which was a two-hour special reviewing some of the best moments on Shark Week.
- 1998: Show that aired include Prehistoric Sharks, Zambezi Shark, Hammerheads: Nomads of the Sea, and Great White: In Search of the Giants.
- 1999: A two-hour special entitled Live From a Shark Cage aired in 1999, hosted by journalist Forrest Sawyer. It was a live program filmed at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. The show also featured cinematographer Al Giddings.
- 2000: In 2000, on 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.
- 2001: Nigel Marven hosted Shark Week for his second time in 2001. Air Jaws: Sharks of South Africa aired in 2001. The program showed Great White sharks near the coast of South Africa jumping high out of the ocean. It was one of the most watched programs in Shark Week history.
- 2002: Nigel Marven hosted Shark Week for a third time in 2002. This Shark Week was celebrity themed. Various celebrities swam in the water among sharks. They include Julie Bowen, Mark McGrath, David James Elliott, Adrian Pasdar, Estella Warren, Brian McKnight, Gabrielle Reece and Casper Van Dien.
- 2003: There was no host for Shark Week in 2003. It began on August 14. The second most watched show ever in Shark Week history, Anatomy of a Shark Bite, also aired that day.
- 2004: Shark Week 2004 was hosted by the American Chopper cast. It ran from July 25-31.
- 2005: In 2005, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from the Discovery Channel series MythBusters hosted Shark Week, and a two-hour MythBusters "Jaws Special" was premiered for the event.
- 2006: In 2006, Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs hosted, and two Dirty Jobs episodes were featured, titled "Jobs that Bite" and "Jobs that Bite...Harder". Also during the week, the Silver Spring, Maryland headquarters of the Discovery Channel was outfitted to resemble a giant shark.
- 2007: 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 episode Ocean of Fear aired on July 29.
- 2008: Shark Week 2008 ran from July 27 to August 2 and was hosted by both the MythBusters and Mike Rowe. Both a new MythBusters shark special and a shark-themed episode of Dirty Jobs premiered for the event.
- 2009: 2009's Shark Week began the evening of August 2. The season premiered with Blood in the Water, a recreation of the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916.
- 2010: Shark Week 2010, hosted by The Late Late Show 's Craig Ferguson, began on August 1 and 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: Shark Week 2011, hosted by Andy Samberg, began on July 31. It featured seven specials.
- 2012: Shark Week 2012, hosted by Philip DeFranco, started August 12, 2012, at 9/8c. After being absent in 2011, "Chompie" the giant shark is once again being displayed on the Discovery Channel 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: Shark Week 2013 began on Sunday, August 4. It began 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 manipulating viewers.  Shark 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 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 featured comedian Bob Oschack as Bob the Shark.
- 2014: Shark Week 2014 began on Sunday, August 10. Fourteen programs aired, and five Shark After Dark LIVE episodes were shown for the first five days after two new programs each night. Shark Week ended on Saturday, August 16.
- 2015: Shark Week 2015 will begin a month earlier than the previous year, premiering on Sunday, July 5th at 8/7c. It will last a total of eight days. A total of 14 new episodes will premiere. On June 23, a special titled Shark Week Sharktacular was aired. It highlighted the best moments in Shark Week history, and previewed Shark Week 2015. Also eight special "Sharkopedia Edition" episodes will air. These are re-cuts of new episodes from this year with extra information given for the viewer. For the third year in a row, five Shark After Dark LIVE episodes hosted by will premiere on the first five nights. This year, Eli Roth became the new host, replacing former host of two years Josh Wolf. Shark Week will end on Sunday, July 12, with the final new episode starting at 8/7c.
The complete list of hosts for Shark Week is the following:
- 1988–1993: No host
- 1994: Peter Benchley
- 1995–1999: No host
- 2000–2002: Nigel Marven
- 2003: No host
- 2004: American Chopper cast
- 2005: Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman
- 2006: Mike Rowe
- 2007: Les Stroud
- 2008: Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, and Mike Rowe
- 2009: Les Stroud
- 2010: Craig Ferguson
- 2011: Andy Samberg
- 2012: Philip DeFranco
- 2013–2014: Josh Wolf
- 2015: Eli Roth
DVD and Blu-ray releases
|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||1||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||Unknown||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||Unknown||Various Shark Week episodes|
- Cohen, Matt. "The history of Shark Week". theweek.com. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
- Fetters, Ashley (August 13, 2012). "The Evolution of Shark Week, Pop-Culture Leviathan". theatlantic.com. The Atlantic. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
- Switek, Brian. "It Came From Basic Cable – Phenomena: Laelaps". Phenomena.nationalgeographic.com. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
- Welsh, Jennifer. "People Are Boycotting Shark Week Because Of A Fake Documentary About A Giant Shark". Businessinsider.com. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- "When Wildlife Documentaries Jump the Shark". NPR.org. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- Grant, Bob. "Shark Week Veers Into Fiction . . . Again". The-Scientist.com. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- de Moraes, Lisa (October 28, 2014). "Rich Ross Named Discovery Channel President". deadline.com. Deadline.com. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
- de Moraes, Lisa (January 8, 2015). "Fake Stuff Out At Discovery Channel, Promises New Chief Rich Ross: TCA". deadline.com. Deadline.com. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
- 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". 31 July 2012. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
- "Shark Week 2008: Discovery Channel: Shark Behavior and Conservation". Dsc.discovery.com. 2010-07-07. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- Vino Crianza. "Les Stroud’s Blog ~ Survivorman » Les Stroud hosts “Surviving Sharks” for Shark Week 2008". Les Stroud. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- "SHARK WEEK: TV Shows: Discovery Channel". Dsc.discovery.com. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- Source: Nielsen Media Research; cume; M-Su 8-11P; LSD P2+; 6-minute qualifier
- "Discovery Channel's 23rd Annual 'Shark Week' Is Most-Watched Ever; Seen by 30.8 Million People". Tvbythenumbers.com. 2010-08-10. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- "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.co. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
- "'Shark Week' Returns to Discovery Channel August 4 With the Most Hours of Shark Programming Ever". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
- Rich Juzwiak, "Shark Week Opens with Fake Megalodon Documentary", Gawker, August 5, 2013.
- Shark Week Ad on YouTube
- Levin, Gary (January 29, 2015). "Shark Week bites earlier in 2015". usatoday.com. USA Today. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (June 16, 2015). "Discovery Channel Announces 'Shark Week' 2015 Schedule". tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. 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.com. Inquisitr. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
- "Listings for 'Sharkopedia'". tvguide.com. TV Guide. Archived from the original on July 6, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
- de Moraes, Lisa (June 2, 2015). "Eli Roth To Host Shark Week’s Late Night ‘Shark After Dark’". deadline.com. Deadline.com. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
- "Shark Week: Jaws of Steel Collection".