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October 23, 2014

Is Shark Week cool or does it just, um, bite?

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 4th 2009 10:30AM
sharkSorry for the lame headline.

We're in the middle of the Discovery Channel's annual Shark Week celebration, a whole of programming involving sharks, sharks, sharks, sharks, and the people who love/fear them. But David Zurawik over at The Baltimore Sun doesn't understand why some people get excited about it. He wants someone to explain its appeal.

What do you think of Shark Week?
It's great! I watch it every year.177 (36.6%)
It's terrible! I mean, who cares about sharks?46 (9.5%)
I don't watch it, but whatevs260 (53.8%)

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Adam

yes, save the sharks! Save. The. Sharks!

Eh, whatever. Love Shark Week.

August 08 2009 at 12:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bruce

I think it's really stupid for one simple reason - no original programming. Putting a whole bunch of repeats together because they are about sharks is asinine. It's certainly nothing to celebrate. Now if it were all original programming, then it would be quite cool. But to show the same "shark" episode of Dirty Jobs they showed last year, along with all the other standard "shark week" reruns is pointless.

August 04 2009 at 9:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kelly Deal

I'm not impressed either. Too much regarding shark attacks and not enough regarding conservation. Discovery Channel has hit a new low.

August 04 2009 at 9:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Shark Diver

This years Shark Week has revealed a bacchanalia of man made shark horror well beyond any concerns the shark conservation community and commercial shark diving community could have fathomed.

Without a doubt Discovery Networks have reinvented Sea Monsters, erroneously establishing the shark as the most feared predator on the planet.

34 years after JAWS, and 34 years of conservation science discoveries, pro-shark media, and conservation themed initiatives have been swept away by the 2009 Discovery Channel anti-shark juggernaut. This year broadcast in gory, blood soaked HD, to an estimated 30 million domestic viewers.

Great for advertising revenues, lousy for the perception of sharks worldwide who have been thrown back to the stone age with last nights docu drama, "Blood in the water" and this weeks entire line up of gratuitous Shark Porn.

As a commercial shark diving operator I find over hyping one small facet of a sharks entire Raison d'etre to be patently dishonest and a disservice to animals that are suffering one of the highest rates of destruction on the planet.

Approximately 90 million sharks are killed each year. That's a stunning statistic. And yet Discovery Networks feels compelled to bring back the 1970's shark mythos, blood and fear, with absolutely no Sympathy for the Devil.

At the same time Discovery Networks have rolled out a simply draconian and somewhat East Bloc ham fisted media campaign showing conservation for sharks. An afterthought pushed out by Discovery and it's hand selected group of "Shark Porn Programming Apologists" to mollify the growing push back from an appalled research, science, and commercial dive community.

To those who are supporting the very dark decision by Discovery Network executives to bring back, promote, and hype the fear of sharks, rethink your position.

At a critical time when sharks, as a measure of the health of our oceans, need as much support as we can give them, programming decisions that demonize these animals for ratings, ad sales, and corporate profits are wrong, dishonest, and bordering on fraudulent.

Discovery started Shark Week 20 years ago with programming that was fresh, alive and informative. Our company along with many others have been involved in some of that programming and happy with the results.

Early Shark Week programming started with unflinching production companies striving to produce they best they could, fully engaging local operators to introduce them to the full range of shark behaviors.

Discovery has officially lost it's way. It can come back, hopefully this is the final year of Shark Porn. Hopefully those within the community who are currently in bed with Discovery Networks "will see the light".

As both the alcohol and tobacco industries have discovered you cannot sell these toxic brands to minors and then ask them to "drink and smoke responsibly".

Discovery Networks cannot sell fear and loathing of sharks...and then push for conservation.

Cheers,
Patric Douglas CEO
www.sharkdiver.com
www.sharkdivers.com
www.sharkdivers.blogspot.com
www.guadalupefund.org
www.islandofthegreatwhiteshark.com
415.235.9410

August 04 2009 at 8:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Shark Diver's comment
Wendi

Thank you for this, Shark Diver! I wrote to the Discovery Channel one week prior to Shark Week airing and brought up this very topic. For a network that prides itself on conservation and ecological responsibility, it's amazing that the content on Shark Week even gets airtime.

The public relations team at the network assured me that, in partnership with the Ocean Conservancy group, the channel would launch a campaign against shark finning. This would be done in the form of PSA's between programming. Once I saw these announcements, however, I became even more discouraged.

If you really want people to rally against shark finning and other cruel fishing practices that are ruining our oceans, then air something along the lines of the film Sharkwater. Show people what's really happening to sharks in the form of an actual program, not just 30 second blips that people ignore and don't provide any information.

At the close of Shark Week, I intend to write another letter to Discovery expressing my disappointment for the network's airing of vicious, gratuitous, and harmful propaganda against sharks. It's clear to me that, no matter how vehemently they tell you otherwise, the Discovery network is more interested in filling wallets with advertising dollars than saving our planet through informative, original, and insightful programming.

From this year forward, I, a faithful Shark Week follower since its inception 21 years ago, am boycotting yearly bloc and, depending on Discovery's response and action (or inaction), possible the entire network as well. I urge others who are concerned for the welfare of sharks to join me in doing this.

At the very least, please educate yourself on the real horror that goes on every day - that which humans do to sharks and not the other way around.

August 05 2009 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
angelica

Ten Things You Don't Know About Sharks And Shark Week http://www.getback.com/gallery/ten-things-you-don-t-know-about-sharks-and-shark-week/2999890/0/

August 04 2009 at 8:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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