Discovery Walks Back ‘Shark Week’ Scares to Spotlight ‘More Glory Than Gory’
Reality TV always ends up trending toward the sensational, but Discovery in particular has drawn flack for its infamous Shark Week dialing up the terror in recent years. Now, a new report suggests that the celebrated lineup will scale back its focus on shark attacks, instead focusing on the “glory” of the creatures themselves.
Starting its 28th season on Sunday, July 5, Discovery’s Shark Week will operate a bit differently this year, according to TVInsider. Rather than concentrate on the danger posed by sharks (chomp-chomp = ratings, basically), Discovery Documentary President Howard Swartz says of the focus this time out:
Shark attacks do happen; it is a reality. Our focus, though, is shining a light on how magnificent these creatures are.
And how might we focus on the magnificence of said sharks? So reads the lineup:
Shark Trek (Sunday, 8/7c) “Great whites have been migrating down the Eastern seaboard, [and] they’re closer to shore now,” Swartz says of this dive into new behaviors and locales.
Island of the Mega Shark (Sunday, 9/8c) A trio of experts travels to what Swartz calls “the Holy Grail” of shark habitats near Guadalupe to observe the massive locals in a clear “ghost cage.”
Alien Sharks: Close Encounters (Monday, July 6, 10/9c) Ever wonder what a 20-foot mega-mouth shark looks like? This jaw-dropping special about the sea’s funkiest finned denizens has that answer.
Bride of Jaws (Tuesday, July 7, 9/8c) Track the largest female great white ever tagged, the perfectly named Joan of Shark. And then try to enjoy that vacation at the beach this summer.
Tiburones: The Sharks of Cuba (Tuesday, July 7, 10/9c) “This was a huge opportunity for researchers to access one of the great untapped, unexplored shark hangouts left in the Caribbean,” Swartz says.
Shark Island (Sunday, July 12, 8/7c) A look at the recent attacks near an Indian Ocean hot spot that have residents torn between addressing and eradicating the problem. “They aren’t hunting people,” defends Swartz. “People just are where they hunt.”
It’s nice to see networks like Discovery returning to their roots a bit with such beloved lineups as Shark Week, and one hopes that other education-based organizations might take the hint (cough, TLC). Will the reduced focus on attacks decrease viewership, however? Check out the previews below: