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The Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, first broadcast on July 17, 1987, is a weeklong series of feature television programs dedicated to sharks. Held annually, normally in July or August, Shark Week was originally developed to raise awareness and respect for sharks. It is the longest-running cable television programming event in history. Now broadcast in over 72 countries, Shark Week is promoted heavily via social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
In 2000, on Discovery Channel aired Shark Week Uncaged presented by famous zoologist Nigel Marven as a host.
In 2000, six million 3D Pulfrich glasses were distributed to viewers in the United States and Canada for an episode featuring an extinct giant shark, which had 3D segments.
In 2005, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from the Discovery Channel series MythBusters hosted Shark Week, and a two-hour MythBusters “Jaws Special” was premiered for the event.
In 2006, Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs hosted, and two Dirty Jobs episodes were featured, titled “Jobs that Bite” and “Jobs that Bite…Harder”. Also during the week, the Silver Spring, Maryland headquarters of the Discovery Channel was outfitted to resemble a giant shark.
In 2007, Discovery Channel celebrated Shark Week’s 20th Anniversary hosted by Les Stroud, host of Survivorman. The 20th anniversary included the launch of Sharkrunners, a video game that uses GPS data from tagged sharks in the Pacific Ocean.
Shark Week 2008 ran from July 27 to August 2 and was hosted by both the MythBusters and Mike Rowe. Both a new MythBusters shark special and a shark-themed episode of Dirty Jobs premiered for the event.
2009’s Shark Week began the evening of August 2.
Shark Week 2010, hosted by The Late Late Show’s Craig Ferguson, began on August 1 and featured six brand-new shark specials. It was advertised by the second appearance of the giant inflatable shark attached to the Discovery Channel building nicknamed “Chompie”. Shark Week 2010 was rated the most viewed Shark Week ever with 30.8 million unique viewers. Shark Week is now the longest-running program event on cable.
Shark Week 2011, hosted by Andy Samberg, began on July 31. It featured seven specials.
Shark Week 2012, hosted by Philip DeFranco, started August 12, 2012, at 8 p.m. CST. After being absent in 2011, “Chompie” the giant shark is once again being displayed on the Discovery Channel Building. To honor the series’ 25th anniversary, viewers were encouraged to vote via Twitter or Facebook on which item a mechanical megalodon shark would crush with its hydraulic jaws in the “Shark Week Chompdown”.
Shark Week 2013 began on Sunday, August 4. It began with “Megalodon : The Monster Shark Lives”, a fictitious documentary-style film which hypothesized the Megalodon shark existing in present times. Shark Week was heavily promoted by a popular ad in which a news program covers the return of “Snuffy The Seal” to the ocean only to see a shark jump out and devour the seal on camera.