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July 17, 1988: Mike Tyson was on the cover of Life magazine, “Hold On to the Nights” by Richard Marx topped the charts, “Coming to America” was #1 at the box office for the third straight week and Shark Week was born! Cable’s longest running programming event and everyone’s favorite summertime ritual celebrates 25 years on August 12th (beginning at 9PM E/P) with nine all-new shark-filled specials that get you so close to the action, if you were any closer you’d be bait!
Picking up where 2011′s Emmy -nominated Ultimate Air Jaws left off, shark expert Chris Fallows and legendary natural history producer Jeff Kurr embark on a quest to learn more about the great white sharks of Seal Island, South Africa – and one shark in particular, Colossus, in Air Jaws Apocalypse. Kurr and his team push the envelope even further with new hair-raising encounters… even if it means risking their lives for the ultimate close-up with the now-legendary 14-foot great white.
They’ve lost limbs and nearly their lives – but they haven’t lost faith in the ocean’s apex predator. In Shark Fight, relive the harrowing moments when all went wrong and sharks mistook humans for prey. And learn why these victims turned what could have been tragedy into a tool for triumph, making it their mission to protect the lives of the very animals that almost took theirs.
In a groundbreaking partnership with Discovery Channel, a Stanford University research team, led by Dr. Barbara Block, sets out to tag the great whites of the Farallons off the coast of California in Great White Highway. They attempt to track where the ocean’s apex predators are migrating in the Pacific, where they are meeting and possibly mating, and maybe where they go to give birth – something that continues to elude scientists.
Also new this year: witness the resurrection of the largest shark ever to swim in our oceans and test out its chomping capabilities with Myth Busters’ Kari, Grant and Tory in Sharkzilla; relive some of the scariest, funniest and most memorable moments of the past 24 years in Shark Week’s 25 Best Bites; learn the true impact one of the most legendary movies had on both audiences and the filmmakers in How Jaws Changed the World; watch the inspiring true story of two war heroes who survived shark-infested waters in Adrift: 47 Days with Sharks; catch amazing photographers in perilous situations in Shark Week’s Impossible Shot; and mark Shark Week’s anniversary with none other than Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman as they count down their top 25 shark myths of all time and reveal the #1 myth that will literally blow people away in MythBusters’ Jawsome Shark Special.
For more information on all things sharks, fans can head over to SharkWeek.com, the destination for deep-dive content – from enlightening infographics to jawsome videos and games. In addition, Discovery Channel will return with a simultaneous viewing experience that offers users of the free Discovery Channel HD App for iPad an engaging digital companion to the primetime Shark Week line-up with audio-synched behind-the-scenes factoids, photos, quizzes and social conversation.
Once again this year, Discovery Channel will educate the public about the plight of sharks around the world through public service announcements. The PSAs will air each night during primetime, informing viewers about threats currently facing plummeting shark populations.
Discovery Channel is also proud to once again partner this year with Oceana, the world’s largest international conservation organization focused solely on protecting and restoring the world’s oceans, and The Pew Charitable Trusts (see “25 Years of Shark Advances” in this year’s media kit). Each year, commercial fishing kills up to 70 million sharks worldwide, including tens of millions just for their fins. Some populations of sharks – including tiger, bull, scalloped hammerhead and smooth hammerhead – have declined by 97 percent or more. As the oceans’ top predators, sharks play vital roles in marine ecosystems.
In the last 24 years of SHARK WEEK, Discovery Channel has aired 143 programs, from Caged in Fear (1988) to Jaws Comes Home (2011), which ranks in the top 10 most-watched SHARK WEEK shows of all time. In 1994, legendary “Jaws” author Peter Benchley served as the first-ever host for the week (20 years after the release of the best-selling novel), introducing each program from the same locations where the movie “Jaws” was filmed. SHARK WEEK went live in 1999 with a two-hour special from the Pacific’s Bikini Atoll titled Live from a Shark Cage. In 2000, the first-ever 3-D shark program premiered, appropriately titled Sharks 3-D. And in 2011, the network enlisted its first-ever Chief Shark Officer (CSO), tapping comedian Andy Samberg for the highly coveted job.
Tune in to the Discovery Channel this summer to celebrate 25 years of the ocean’s apex predator taking over the network – and don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Image Courtesy of Discovery Channel/Rahoul Ghose