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'Shark Week' Still Packs Bite

Silver Spring, Md. — “Shark Week” hasn't jumped the shark.

The 18th rendition of Discovery Channel's annual summer programming rite of summer posted its highest household ratings since 2001 and best performance among adults 25 to 54 in almost a decade, according to network officials.

Led by the MythBusters: Jaws Special on July 17 from 9 to 11 p.m., which posted a 2.1 household rating, Discovery averaged a 1.5 household primetime rating from July 17-21, according to Nielsen Media Research data. 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, also drew a 1.7 average among adults 25 to 54 in its premiere window.

All told, some 8 million Americans watched part of the show at 9 p.m. and midnight that evening.

Collectively, Discovery officials said Shark Week programming attracted some 20.6 million viewers, and averaged a 1.2 rating against adults 25 to 54 –the best among this demo since 1996 — and 18 to 49.

“The success of Shark Week 2005 demonstrates the continued strength of the franchise for the 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 statement.