Tube Talk: Discovery Channel celebrates 20 years of Shark Week

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118478327617555.jpg’, ‘Image courtesy of‘, ‘Every day from July 29 through Aug. 4, it will be all sharks, all the time from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Discovery Channel.‘);

There are two kinds of TV watchers: Those who look forward to seeing Discovery Channel’s Shark Week each summer, and those who say, “Who’d want to watch sharks all week?”

After 20 years, you might think they’ve exhausted every conceivable angle to do with sharks, yet Shark Week continues to be one of cable’s most popular summertime events. And with advances in underwater cinematography, they may just now be hitting their stride.

Every day from July 29 through Aug. 4, it will be all sharks, all the time from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Discovery Channel. Sharks will rule the (air) waves 18 hours a day for seven straight days. Survivorman Les Stroud will host the week-long event, replacing adventurer Jimmy Hall, who was set to host until his untimely death in a base-jumping accident this May.

Shark Week can be as educational as it is entertaining. Sure, there will be a lot of great shots of all kinds of sharks slicing their way through the water, open jaws heading straight for the camera, but careful viewers will come away with a wealth of knowledge about these mysterious beasts and their environment. Did you know there are more than 350 species of sharks, yet only a few of those pose a danger to man?

Primetime kicks off each night with Viewers Choice episodes (from previous Shark Weeks) at 7 p.m., followed by brand new specials at 8 p.m. During breaks between 8 and 9 p.m., Stroud will share tips and techniques for surviving an encounter with a shark.

At 8 p.m. the first night, Jaws star Richard Dreyfuss narrates a two-hour special, Ocean of Fear: Worst Shark Attacks Ever. This focuses on the terror in the water following the 1945 sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, where those who didn’t drown were attacked by sharks while waiting nearly five days until the surviving survivors were rescued. The other premieres are: Deadly Stripes: Tiger Sharks and Top 5 Eaten Alive on Monday; Shark Feeding Frenzy, Tuesday; Perfect Predators, Wednesday; Shark Tribe, Thursday; Sharks: A Family Affair, Friday; and Sharkman, Saturday.

Whether you’re curious about sharks’ place in history (as with the U.S.S. Indianapolis), get a vicarious thrill from watching predators stalk their prey, or are just curious about sharks and their environment, you can pick and choose which programs suit your particular taste—or which ones you prefer to avoid.

This year, Discovery has added an online component, too, at You can take a shark quiz, map where certain species live, vote on the “coolest” sharks, make your own video from Shark Week clips, take a virtual dive and download podcasts. Whether you’re a nature geek or a kid who’s fascinated by these mercurial creatures, the Web site is a fun way to prepare for the actual broadcast.

If that doesn’t work for you, you can always rent Jaws.

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, SatelliteORBIT, and TVGuide. Send in your suggestions to

from the July 18-24, 2007, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!