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Discovery Baits Viewers With ‘Shark Week’

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.

Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Nexttv.com. Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News. He got his bachelor's degree at Pace University in Westchester County, N.Y.