Shark Week

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Shark Week
Shark Week.png
Network Discovery Channel
Launched July 17, 1988 (1988-07-17)
Owner Discovery Communications
Format Shark-based programming
Running time Airs annually for an entire week in Summer
Original Language(s) English
Official website Official website

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 and/or early August, it was originally devoted to conservation efforts and correcting misconceptions about sharks.[1] 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.[2] 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 Video, and iTunes. Some episodes are free on subscription-based Hulu.


  • 1988: The first ever 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.
  • 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 included 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 included Shark Shooters, Sea Lovers, and Great Shark Hunt.
  • 1992: This year was branded as Shark Week: They're Back. Shows to air included 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 included 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 included 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, 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.[3]
  • 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 included 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,[citation needed] 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.[4]
  • 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 program 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.[5][6] 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.[7] It was advertised by the second appearance of the giant inflatable shark attached to the Discovery Channel building nicknamed "Chompie".[4] Shark Week 2010 was rated the most viewed Shark Week ever with 30.8 million unique viewers.[8] Shark Week is now the longest-running program event on cable.[9]
  • 2011: Shark Week 2011, hosted by Andy Samberg, began on July 31. It featured seven specials.[7]
  • 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.[4] 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".[10]
  • 2013: Shark Week 2013 began on Sunday, August 4.[11][12] 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.[13] 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.[14] 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 aired a month earlier than the previous year, premiering on Sunday, July 5 at 8/7c.[15] It will last a total of eight days.[15] A total of 14 new episodes will premiere.[16] On June 23, a special titled Shark Week Sharktacular was aired.[17] It highlighted the best moments in Shark Week history, and previewed Shark Week 2015.[17] Also, eight special "Sharkopedia Edition" episodes will air.[18] These are re-cuts of new episodes from this year with extra information given for the viewer.[citation needed] For the third year in a row, five Shark After Dark LIVE episodes hosted by will premiere on the first five nights.[19] This year, Eli Roth became the new host, replacing former host of two years Josh Wolf.[19] Shark Week ended on Sunday, July 12, with the final new episode starting at 8/7c.[15]
  • 2016: Shark Week 2016 aired on June 26. Lokai, a bracelet company which promotes "balance" partnered with Oceana and Discovery Channel in a campaign to help restore the ocean's balance and introduce the shark fin ban. [20] This campaign was highly publicized on Shark Week's Facebook page as well as during Shark Week programming.
  • 2017: Shark Week 2017 is scheduled to begin airing on July 23 at 7 p.m. To celebrate its 29th anniversary, beginning July 18, select theaters throughout the United States will show a "best of" episode from 2016 while also debuting a new 2017 special.[21] Discovery also announced that Michael Phelps will have a role in Shark Week 2017.[22]


The complete list of hosts for Shark Week is the following:


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 Sunday, 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.[23]


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 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.[24] 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.[25] It eventually started a Discovery Channel boycott.[25] 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.[26][27]

On October 28, 2014, Rich Ross became the new president of Discovery.[28] Later in early 2015, he vowed to remove the so-called "docufiction", which are fake and dramatized documentaries, from the future Shark Week lineups.[29]

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.[30] 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 Unknown Various Shark Week episodes


  1. ^ Cohen, Matt. "The history of Shark Week". Retrieved July 16, 2015. 
  2. ^ Fetters, Ashley (August 13, 2012). "The Evolution of Shark Week, Pop-Culture Leviathan". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 3, 2013. 
  3. ^ Bartless Manufacturer “swims with sharks” in Upcoming 3D Television Event,, August 11, 2000.
  4. ^ a b c "Return of "Chompie" In Silver Spring Building Marks 25th Anniversary of Shark Week". July 31, 2012. Retrieved August 5, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Shark Week 2008: Discovery Channel: Shark Behavior and Conservation". July 7, 2010. Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  6. ^ Vino Crianza. "Les Stroud’s Blog ~ Survivorman » Les Stroud hosts “Surviving Sharks” for Shark Week 2008". Les Stroud. Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "SHARK WEEK: TV Shows: Discovery Channel". Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  8. ^ Source: Nielsen Media Research; cume; M-Su 8-11P; LSD P2+; 6-minute qualifier
  9. ^ "Discovery Channel's 23rd Annual 'Shark Week' Is Most-Watched Ever; Seen by 30.8 Million People". August 10, 2010. Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  10. ^ "25th Anniversary of 'Shark Week Week' to Premiere Sunday August 12 on Discovery". TV By the Numbers. June 27, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Discovery Channel's post on Vine". Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  12. ^ "'Shark Week' Returns to Discovery Channel August 4 With the Most Hours of Shark Programming Ever". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  13. ^ Rich Juzwiak, "Shark Week Opens with Fake Megalodon Documentary Archived August 8, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.", Gawker, August 5, 2013.
  14. ^ Shark Week Ad on YouTube
  15. ^ a b c Levin, Gary (January 29, 2015). "Shark Week bites earlier in 2015". USA Today. Retrieved July 5, 2015. 
  16. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (June 16, 2015). "Discovery Channel Announces 'Shark Week' 2015 Schedule". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  17. ^ a b Reyes, Traciy (June 23, 2015). "‘Sharktacular': Discovery Channel Thrills Fans With A Sneak Peak Of Shark Week July 2015". Inquisitr. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Listings for 'Sharkopedia'". TV Guide. Retrieved July 6, 2015. [dead link]
  19. ^ a b de Moraes, Lisa (June 2, 2015). "Eli Roth To Host Shark Week’s Late Night ‘Shark After Dark’". Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Dehnart, Andy. "The first-ever Shweekend arrives, but how did Shark Week do?". Reality Blurred. Retrieved February 20, 2016. 
  24. ^ Switek, Brian. "It Came From Basic Cable – Phenomena: Laelaps". Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  25. ^ a b Welsh, Jennifer. "People Are Boycotting Shark Week Because Of A Fake Documentary About A Giant Shark". Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  26. ^ "When Wildlife Documentaries Jump the Shark". Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  27. ^ Grant, Bob. "Shark Week Veers Into Fiction . . . Again". Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  28. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (October 28, 2014). "Rich Ross Named Discovery Channel President". Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  29. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (January 8, 2015). "Fake Stuff Out At Discovery Channel, Promises New Chief Rich Ross: TCA". Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Shark Week: Jaws of Steel Collection". 
General reference

External links[edit]