Shark Week at 25: Discovery Seeks to Keep Fest Relevant, Builds Conservation Ties

Publication: The Washington Post

Author: Juliet Eilperin


08/10/2012 - On Sunday night, millions of viewers across the country will tune in to what has become an annual ritual of summer television, a combination of fear and morbid fascination: Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. 

One of cable television’s longest-running and most popular events celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, proving yet again that Americans have a seemingly insatiable appetite for stories about one of the ocean’s top predators. But as Silver Spring-based Discovery seeks to keep its annual shark fest relevant, executive producer Brooke Runnette has begun to build an alliance with national conservationists who have spent years decrying the channel’s programming as simplistic and shortsighted.

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And for activists — who include a group of shark-bite survivors working with the Pew Environment Group — Shark Week provides an opportunity to reach the more than 30 million viewers who watch the event each year. 

“This is the ultimate melding of shark attacks becoming shark conservation,” said Debbie Salamone, a Pew Environment Group communications officer whose Achilles tendon was severed while she was swimming off Florida’s Cape Canaveral National Seashore in 2004. “I think it’s really helping us."

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Read the full article, Shark Week at 25: Discovery Seeks to Keep Fest Relevant, Builds Conservation Ties, on the Washington Post's website.

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