EXCLUSIVE: When the dust settled, Discovery Channel’s Shark Week 2013 emerged as the most watched in the franchise’s 26-year history. An average of 2.12 million people watched Shark Week in primetime, Discovery says, and nearly 29 million unique viewers sampled the orgy of shark-dom. Sunday’s kickoff faux-documentary Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives survived the week as the most-watched program in the franchise’s history, with an average of nearly 5 million tuning in.

Shark Week was TV’s highest-rated franchise among 18-to-49-year-old guys last week, beating all cable nets and broadcast ones too — even NBC, with its returning NFL Sunday night preseason football. Overall, the franchise coughed up Discovery Channel’s best-ever week among 18-49. That’s because Shark Week programming bagged the highest-rated premieres in franchise history for their respective nights in the demo, starting with Megalodon on Sunday, Voodoo Sharks (Monday), I Escaped Jaws (Tuesday), Great White Serial Killer (Wednesday), Alien Sharks (Thursday) and Great White Gauntlet (Friday).

The fin-fest also posted personal bests in such key demos as men and women in 18-34, 18-49, and 25-54. Late at night, Shark Week’s first after-show, Shark After Dark, netted more 18-to-34-year-old viewers on four of its five nights, besting Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and Colbert Report, TBS’ Conan, Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live  and E!’s Chelsea Lately, which had included one night guest-hosted by Lindsay Lohan.

Among slightly older crowds — 18-49 and 25-54 — Shark After Dark beat those late-night talkers the full five nights.

Interestingly, Shark Week 2013 was not Discovery Channel’s most-watched week ever. That distinction still belongs 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.

Getting back to our beloved Megalodon, it was the most social TV program across broadcast and cable for the week of July 29. And Shark Week 2013 ranks as Discovery Channel’s most social programming event to date, generating more than 2.6 million tweets from August 4-10,