June 2, 2021
If you don’t already know, this year’s Shark Week is just around the corner. So whether you’re a big fan of these magnificent fish or an angler who wants to know more about sharks, this is an event you do not want to miss. From informative shows that talk about sharks to guest appearances of celebrities in shark-related events, Shark Week promises to bring sharks closer to audiences than ever before. This year’s Shark Week will start on July 11, so make sure to watch out for the latest news, never-before-seen photos, and everything about sharks on science channels.
Shark Week is a week-long programming block aired annually on Discovery Channel in July or August. Its programs range from educational shows like documentaries about sharks and their history to more entertaining shows such as celebrity interactions with sharks and shark-related television movies. They even had a program where a former American professional boxer fought a black-tip reef shark. Not to worry, no one was injured during the program. It was meant to assist in research about sharks.
A couple of news here and there show what might be in store for this year’s Shark Week. This year promises to deliver the largest amount of shark-related shows ever on Discovery Channel and its online counterpart, Discovery+. Discovery Channel’s first-ever shark competitive docu-series, Shark Academy, the Shark-themed episodes of Josh Gates Tonight are just the tip of the iceberg of shows planned to be released beginning July 11.
Even though you may not be able to join in Shark Week’s festivities physically, you can still celebrate it by going fishing for blue or porbeagle sharks in places where they can be caught. Or, you can help Shark Week continue to flourish by supporting its official releases and watching its programs along with your family. By continuously patronizing its programs, you help keep the interest in it alive and share it with the next generation.
Our discussion regarding Shark Week wouldn’t be complete without some fun facts regarding sharks. Here are just a few fun facts about these predators:
1.Sharks are a type of fish known as elasmobranchs because their skeleton is mostly made of cartilage. That’s right, sharks do not have any bones in their bodies.
2. Sharks also have electroreceptor organs called ampullae of Lorenzini that allow them to detect electromagnetic fields and temperature changes in the ocean. Think of it as having a “sixth” sense that allows them to hunt prey better.
3. Sharks can enter a trance-like state called tonic immobility when flipped upside down.
4. Sharks have been on earth for almost 455 million years. No wonder they’re such good predators; they had a long time honing their craft.
5. A whale shark’s spot pattern is unique, and no two whale sharks share the same pattern. Think of it as similar to the patterns found on zebras or your fingerprints.
Shark Week first aired on July 17, 1988, and its purpose was to promote conservation and raise awareness about sharks. The program was meant to dispel several misconceptions - just like the idea that sharks actively hunt humans. It was also conceived to aid in conservation efforts, as the negative image of sharks was undermining efforts in saving them. This is especially true for great white sharks because of how they were portrayed in the movie Jaws.
There are two different stories about the conception of Shark Week. One story comes from Brooke Runnett, the program’s executive producer. She says the idea behind Shark Week was born from a conversation between Discovery executives who were spending time together in a bar. One of them mentions creating a program called “Shark Week,” and another one scribbled it down on a napkin, and the rest is history.
Another story comes from Discovery Channel’s group president, Eileen O’Neill. She mentions that the idea for the program came from a brainstorming session with John Hendricks, the company’s founder.
Some of the program’s highlights throughout the years include the premier of Caged in Fear and other shows such as The Shark Takes A Siesta and Sharks-Predators or Prey during its very first run. Its success allowed it to continued in the next many years. In 1994, it received high-profile endorsements. Its first host was none other than Peter Benchley, the author of Jaws. In 1999, another milestone was added when Shark Week aired its first-ever live-action program called, Live From A Shark Cage.
In 2002, Shark Week saw its first full celebrity edition. In 2005 and 2006 consecutively, Shark Week included a special edition from other Discovery Channel shows such as MythBusters and Dirty Jobs. In 2007, in celebration of its 20th anniversary, Shark Week launched its videogame called Sharkrunners. And in 2010, the program reached its most-viewed Shark Week ever, with 30.8 million views.
Whatever its origins may be, the show has proved to be such a success that it has become a part of American summers since it first appeared. Nowadays, Shark Week is seen as a symbol of American summer, and its events are highly anticipated by viewers nationwide. Why is it so popular, you may ask? Well, it could trace its popularity from the public’s general curiosity with regards to sharks, fueled by films such as Jaws. It’s not hard to find memories of being haunted by the film’s theme, and the general surge of curiosity produced by these films helped propel Shark Week to the spotlight.
Knowing more about these magnificent creatures through entertaining and educational documentaries helped make the series very popular. The producers constantly try to ensure that each year is different and has fresher content than the year prior. This ensures that audiences won’t grow bored with watching the series and attracts newer audiences each year. Discovery Channel also makes sure not to air any Shark-related shows outside of Shark Week to maintain its exclusivity.
Still, a large part of its popularity stems from the nostalgia felt by younger generations with the show. A lot of its current audience has memories of summer days spent watching Shark Week with their parents. Watching Shark Week has become sort of like the Super Bowl during the summer for Americans, something to look forward to and enjoy with one’s family and fellow anglers.