Discovery Channel said it clocked 3.64 million viewers and a 2.27 rating among 25-54-year-olds. This time, opening night featured Shark Of Darkness: Wrath Of Submarine, which logged 3.825 million viewers — not quite up to the 5 mil who watched last year’s Megaladon: The Monster Shark Lives. While the faux-docu tumbled, its lead-in fared better this year. Air Jaws: Fin of Fury, at 8 PM, snagged 3.298 million viewers and a 1.96 rating in the demo, putting it at No. 6 among all 135 Shark Week telecasts ever — up 57% over last year’s programming in the timeslot. Filmmaker Jeff Kurr documented his two-year hunt for a mega shark with a deformed dorsal fin, who’s taken the stage name Colossus.
And, as with last year’s Megalodon, critics blasted Discovery for kicking off Shark Week with the faux docu — but this year they also nicked the network for recycling the storyline: attack of fcoast of South Africa, supremely evil shark gobbling large chunks of innocent humans. Geesh.
In late night, this year’s opening Shark After Dark, at 11 PM, scored 1.556 million viewers and a 1.03 rating among 25-54 year olds — that franchise’s best showing since last year’s unveiling.
Last year, Megalodon netted Shark Week’s biggest telecast crowd ever and, when the dust settled, Discovery Channel’s Shark Week 2013 emerged as the most watched in the franchise’s then 26-year history, with an average of 2.12 million people watching in primetime, and nearly 29 million unique viewers sampling the orgy of shark-dom.
This year, Discovery’s shooting to beat another record: Shark Week 2013 was not Discovery Channel’s most-watched week ever. At the time, that distinction still belonged to the week Discovery premiered its iconic Raising the Mammoth special. That week in March 2000, Discovery clocked an average of 2.35 million viewers. That said, the Mammoth resurrection week skewed much older — median age of 44 years. Shark Week 2013 shed those older viewers and brought in more young ones, resulting in a median age of 37.
Last year, the network had run a “disclaimer” with Megalodon, though if you blinked you missed it: None of the institutions or agencies that appear in the film are affiliated with it in any way, nor have approved its contents. Though certain events and characters in this film have been dramatized, sightings of “Submarine” continue to this day. Megalodon was a real shark. Legends of giant sharks persist all over the world. There is still debate about what they might be.
This year, the network ran an abridged version — but posted it before, and during, the mockumentary:
Submarine is a legendary shark first sighted off the coast of South Africa in 1970. Eyewitness accounts say it is over 35 feet long. Its existence is highly controversial. Events have been dramatized, but many believe Submarine exists to this day.