Shark Week is here! And if you want to be a believer, these are five of the most memorable moments from Shark Week history.
You might say that a blog about Shark Week is not news. But I think it counts as news that there is such a thing as Shark Week.
Sharks have been around for millions of years, and they have always been scary. Maybe the reason no one has ever made a good shark movie is because we’ve been so afraid of them that we’ve forgotten they can be funny. That’s why we all laughed at the great joke in “Jaws,” when Quint tells Brody what happened to his father, who did not heed his warning to stay off the water because he had had too much to drink. “We’re gonna need a bigger boat,” Quint said, “and some other kind of customer.”
Shark Week** is the summer TV season event that celebrates sharks and their natural environment. I have been a fan of Shark Week since I was a kid, and I still spend hours watching it.
I used to watch Shark Week with my family, but this year instead of watching it with them I decided to write about it. The blog** “*Shark Week” is a short (1,000+ word) blog about Shark Week.
Shark Week is the best time of year–or the worst, depending on how you feel about the Discovery Channel. But it’s not a coincidence that Shark Week has now evolved from a television-only event to an extended online extravaganza. It’s not just because we now have so many more ways to watch the show, or because there are so many more ways to get online. We’ve also gotten smarter about what we’re watching and how we want to watch it.
Shark Week is a perfect example of how new technologies can change our habits and expectations. At first, Shark Week was a simple summertime programming block. But then in the 1980s and 1990s, it became a highly produced event with special musical guests and a host of stunts and competitions to lure viewers back week after week. Now Shark Week is going even further: It’s becoming a full-fledged cultural phenomenon with its own theme song, endless spoofs on YouTube and Tumblr, an entire website devoted to its history, and an increasing number of companies cashing in with products tied to the program.
It’s not surprising that a show geared toward science would become one of the most popular (and profitable) shows on TV. But it is surprising that it took so long for
Shark Week is the week of programming on the Discovery Channel that celebrates sharks and their ability to take humans.
There’s no such thing as Black Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, but it was once a tradition to celebrate Christmas by giving away a shark watch.
So how do you celebrate Christmas? You buy a shark watch.
Some people think they’re getting a deal when they buy shark watches in bulk from China, but even if you have to ship them one at a time, it’s not hard to see that this is like buying horseshoes or Swiss Army knives: get enough of them and presto! You’ve got an army.
Shark Week is on the air again, and it’s an annual ritual. I remember when Shark Week debuted in 1988. At that time, I was a director of programming for Discovery Channel. I was responsible for selecting the programming that would run on the network during the summer. Since Shark Week aired at 7PM on Saturday night, I made sure they were all documentaries or nature shows. I remember going over their list with my boss and being amazed by how many of the documentaries were about sharks. The programmer’s perspective: “I don’t think there are that many people in this country who don’t know about sharks.”
Over the years Shark Week has gotten more and more expensive to produce. My former boss told me a story about how he once got an email from a producer who wanted to cut down on costs: “We need to find out if we can take one of these shark shows and make it into a TV movie.”
In any case, Shark Week is very expensive to produce, but it sells well because it’s highly rated among young people. That is probably why Discovery Channel recently moved to a two-week format for Shark Week rather than doing an entire week. Business analysts said that setting up two weeks of programming each year would save money because it meant
One of the most popular shows on television is Shark Week, which airs every summer on ABC. Shark Week used to be called “Shark Tales,” but that was changed because some people thought it was a case of broadcasting bias—sharks are just as likely to attack people as people are to attack sharks.
But the real reason for the name change has more to do with American politics than with American media: in 1976, shark attacks were blamed for two deaths of Americans in the Caribbean. That led California senator George J. Skelton (D) to sponsor legislation requiring the U.S. Navy to create an annual Shark Week program that would educate people about potential dangers from sharks while allowing them to watch lots of shark attacks on TV and be reminded not to swim at beaches.
It is true that many cases of shark attack turn out to be cases of mistaken identity—the victim had been bitten by a barracuda or a mako shark, which can look very similar to a great white shark. But even if you are only attacked by a barracuda or mako, Shark Week will feature an expert who will tell you what you did wrong!
And there are always two or three episodes on different kinds of sharks: Great Whites, Oceanic Black
Shark Week has become a staple of the summer TV schedule. It’s currently the longest-running documentary series in history, with an average viewership of about 25 million people each year. Each week, Discovery Channel broadcasts a different shark-related show, and people tune in to watch what is basically pre-packaged entertainment.
These shows are not real documentaries, but they are presented as real documentaries. They are also often presented as documentaries made by amateurs. They typically don’t claim that they were written or produced by professional documentarians or TV producers, but the effect is the same: they imply that these shows are not just a matter of assembling pre-made clips but that they were created by actual human beings who had worked hard to make them happen.
There is no reason these things can’t be written or produced by actual human beings, and there is no reason why they can’t be made from scratch every week. But there is also no reason why you have to buy them as products from some company. You can just make them yourself.[…]