What is Shark Week?
Shark week is a week-long feature dedicated to sharks in the Discovery Channel which has to date been running for more than two decades. The week long spectacle first aired in July 1987 and as of 2010 is in its 23rd season. Shark week airs every summer annually.
Shark week is the longest running cable show on television. It is also a consistent audience drawer, peaking in 2008 with more than 29 million viewers. Many people credit the Discovery Channel’s success in huge part to these shark documentaries. Shark week features different aspects of a shark’s life and behavior, mostly focusing on explaining the reasons for shark actions and presenting facts and statistics that can educate people about why sharks attack and therefore reducing the fear and mystery surrounding them.
Shark week did not have a host until 1994, when Jaws writer Peter Benchley was introduced as host. Since then, it has been hosted by a number of personalities including Heidi Klum, Mythbusters hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, Les Stroud and Craig Ferguson.
Recognizing the important role sharks played in the success of the network and to show their efforts at convervation, Discovery has tied up with shark and ocean conservation groups Oceana, Ocean Conservancy as well as Pew Charitable Trusts in order to bring awareness to shark-finning that are vastly affecting the shark population.