Shark Week is an annual, week-long programming block on Discovery Channel which features shark-based programming, real and fictional. In recent years fictitious programming, called "docufiction," were produced, such as Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives, Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine, Monster Hammerhead, Lair of the Mega Shark, and Megaladon: The New Evidence to try to improve their ratings. This strategy worked for the program Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives, as it became one of the most watched programs in Shark Week history, primarily for the controversy and backlash it generated. It originally premiered on July 17, 1988. Held annually, normally in July or August, Shark Week was originally developed to raise awareness and respect for sharks. Since then it has evolved into more entertainment-oriented programming. It is the longest-running cable television programming event in history.
1988: The first ever Shark Week premiered July 17, 1988, with the first show to air being Caged in Fear. A total of 10 episodes aired. Other shows include Sharks - Predators or Prey, The Shark Takes a Siesta, and Sharks of a Different Color.
1989: Due to the success of the first Shark Week, Discovery decided to continue it. Programs such as Shark: Maneater or Myth?, Shark Hunters of Achill Island, and Sharks of San Francisco aired in 1989.
1990: New shows the aired include Shark!: The World of Sharks and Barracuda and Sharks: Hunters of the Oceans.
1991: This year was referred to as Shark Week: The Revenge. Shows to air include Shark Shooters, Sea Lovers, and Great Shark Hunt.
1992: This year was branded as Shark Week: They're Back. Shows to air include The Man Who Loves Sharks (showcasing scuba diver and underwater producer Stan Waterman), Sharks of Polynesia, Great White Encounters, and Great White! Parts 1 and 2.
1993: This year was called Shark Week: We Dare You to Watch. The programs to air included African Shark Safari, Sharks on the Brink of Extinction, Teeth of Death, Assignment Adventure, and Sharks of Pirate Island.
1994: Jaws author Peter Benchley hosted Shark Week 1994. This was the first year ever Shark Week had a host. New programs were introduced at locations where Jaws was filmed.
1995: Programs to air included Sharks of the Red Triangle, Rendezvous at Ningaloo, and In Search of the Golden Hammerhead (this was the first time this rare shark was aired on television).
1996: Shows to air include The Ultimate Guide: Sharks, Danger Beach, and Tales of the Tiger Shark, which is the third most watched Shark Week program ever.
1997: Shark Bites: A Decade of Shark Week aired this year, which was a two-hour special reviewing some of the best moments on Shark Week.
1998: Show that aired include Prehistoric Sharks, Zambezi Shark, Hammerheads: Nomads of the Sea, and Great White: In Search of the Giants.
1999: A two-hour special entitled Live From a Shark Cage aired in 1999, hosted by jounalist Forrest Sawyer. It was a live program filmed at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. The show also featured cinematographer Al Giddings.
2000: In 2000, on Discovery Channel aired Shark Week Uncaged presented by famous zoologist Nigel Marven as a host. 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.
2001: Nigel Marven hosted Shark Week for his second time in 2001. Air Jaws: Sharks of South Africa aired in 2001. The program showed Great White sharks near the coast of South Africa jumping high out of the ocean. It was one of the most watched programs in Shark Week history.
2002: Nigel Marven hosted Shark Week for a third time in 2002. This Shark Week was celebrity themed. Various celebrities swam in the water among sharks. They include Julie Bowen, Mark McGrath, David James Elliott, Adrian Pasdar, Estella Warren, Brian McKnight, Gabrielle Reece and Casper Van Dien.
2003: There was no host for Shark Week in 2003. It began on August 14. The second most watched show ever in Shark Week history,Anatomy of a Shark Bite, also aired that day.
2006: 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.
2010: 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.
2011: Shark Week 2011, hosted by Andy Samberg, began on July 31. It featured seven specials.
2012: 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".
2013: 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. Each evening of Shark Week, after new episodes aired, a program called Shark After Dark LIVE aired, hosted by comedian Josh Wolf.
2014: Shark Week 2014 began on Sunday, August 10. Fourteen programs aired, and five Shark After Dark LIVE episodes were shown for the first five days after two new programs each night. Shark Week ended on Saturday, August 16.
The following are all of the hosts for Shark Week: