Discovery Baits Viewers With ‘Shark Week’

Network Sets Plans for Programming Stunt’s 26th Swim

Syfy flick Sharknado got the buzz, but even it paid homage to Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week,” the piscine power stunt that returns for a 26th summer on Aug. 4.

Shark Week is still swimming strong, as premiere episodes drew a cumulative 21.4 million viewers last year, up from 18.6 million in 2011. Discovery won the week last year in the 18-49 demo among non-scripted cable networks. This year’s Shark Week ups the number of entries to 11, from eight last year, plus a nightly Shark After Dark show.

The stunt also is a prime time for Discovery to do tie-ins with affiliates, which this year include:

• A Shark Week celebration event at Time Warner Cable’s retail-store grand opening in Los Angeles on Friday, Aug. 2, featuring Josh Wolf, host of the late-night Shark After Dark.

• Shark Week family day events with TWC at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and at the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, both on Saturday, Aug 3.

• Comcast Spotlight Chicago hosting an advanced screening of Return of Jaws at two iPic theaters on Wednesday, July 31. Several local Cox Media markets (Rhode Island, New Orleans, Kansas/Arkansas, Omaha and Oklahoma City) also will host advanced screenings of that documentary,
which includes “Shark Cam” footage of great white sharks hunting near seal colonies off Cape Cod, Mass.

• Retail promotions in 31 Time Warner Cable stores, with a sweepstakes in which a customer will win a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with a shark adventure. Mediacom Communications also will have Shark Week promos out in five of its largest retail stores.

• Dish Network will be running an on-air promotion on the Blockbuster Studio Channel, including a pre-premiere episode of Top 10 Sharkdown, recounting international shark attacks, and the top 10 Shark Week programs of all time.

• Various affiliates have been supplied with promo-assisting “Event in a Box” kits that include an eight-foot inflatable shark, signage and a screener.

Discovery is again partnering with environmental groups interested in assisting sharks and other ocean life. Discovery will offer up multi-platform content produced in conjunction with partners that include federal agency NOAA Fisheries, One World One Ocean and Oceana.