“Shark Week” hasn’t jumped the shark.
The 18th rendition of Discovery Channel’s annual rite of summer programming posted its highest household ratings since 2001 and best performance among adults 25-54 in almost a decade, according to network officials.
Led by the MythBusters: Jaws Special July 17 from 9 p.m.-11 p.m., which posted a 2.1 household rating, Discovery averaged a 1.5 household primetime rating July 17-21, according to Nielsen Media Research data supplied by the network.
The aforementioned special -- featuring Adam Savage and James Hyneman, the mad scientists of the network’s MythBusters series -- took bites out of shark legends perpetuated by Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster, Jaws. It also drew a 1.7 average among adults 25-54 in its premiere window.
All told, some 8 million Americans watched part of the schedule at 9 p.m. and midnight that evening.
Head-to-head, the special topped CBS and beat all primetime, nonsports programs on ad-supported cable networks among adults 18-49, and it also topped all primetime programming on ABC, NBC and CBS and all nonsports ad-supported cable networks among men 18-49 that night.
Collectively, Discovery officials said, Shark Week attracted some 20.6 million viewers and averaged a 1.2 rating against adults 25-54 -- the best among this demo since 1996 -- and 18-49.
“The success of Shark Week 2005 demonstrates the continued strength of the franchise for Discovery Channel, and we are pleased that so many viewers are continuing to tune in to increase their knowledge of this incredible creature," Discovery Networks U.S. president Billy Campbell said in a prepared statement.