The annual Super Bowl of nature documentaries — where celebrities and marketing are part of the packaging — begins July 24 on Discovery.
Shark Week 2022: What to know
Shark Week is in its 34th season. What began in the late 1980s — when silly “Jaws” sequels were being made and sharks were less beloved — as a string of common-themed nature documentaries on cable TV is now a full-scale celebration, with lots of promotional punch and a challenger standing in the other corner.
- Discovery is promising “bigger sharks, bigger breaches and even bigger findings from the global teams of dedicated scientists and researchers in the field.”
- There will be 25 hours of new programming along with reruns from years past. The schedule kicks off July 24 with “Great White Battleground” and runs through July 30.
- Several established franchises will feature new installments, including “Air Jaws,” which was the first to capture “breaching” great white sharks — where the two-ton predators launch themselves entirely out of the water. “Air Jaws: Top Guns” premieres July 25. “Great White Serial Killer” and “Monster Mako” franchises will also have new episodes.
Shark Week celebrities
Shark Week has been leaning into celebrity appearances for decades. Though these specials generally don’t feature the most cutting-edge footage and discoveries, they do help with marketing.
- This year’s lineup of famous-people-turned-shark-documentary-stars features master of ceremonies Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, actor/stuntman Johnny Knoxville and comedian Tracy Morgan. The “Impractical Jokers” crew will be the featured crossover Discovery show special.
- Past specials have been built around Will Smith, Snoop Dog, Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Phelps, Mike Tyson, Andy Samberg, Tiffany Haddish and Brad Paisley.
How to watch Shark Week
Shark Week can be seen on the Discovery Channel through live TV (cable, dish and streaming) subscription services. It can also be streamed on the subscription platform Discovery+, which also features three pre-premiere exclusives — “Dawn of the Monster Mako,” “The Haunting of Shark Tower” and “Great White Insurrection.”
A recent competitor, National Geographic’s Shark Fest, kicked off July 10 with specials like “Shark Queens,” “Baby Sharks” and “Sky Sharks.” Shark Fest specials can already be viewed on Disney+ under the National Geographic menu.
What is the Shark Week Slush and the Shark Week Blimp?
In past years, Shark Week has been a branding partner for ice cream, video games and haircuts.
This year, there are two blimps, Shark Week East and Shark Week West, flying around the country trying to draw attention on social media. The Shark Week Blimp Tracker shows their current locations (Pennsylvania and Southern California as of this writing).
Sonic Drive-In is offering a Shark Week Slush for $2.99 each. The drink features blue coconut slush and strawberry puree — positioning two gummy sharks in what looks like a post-feeding frenzy slick of blood at the surface of the ocean.