The monstrous outrage over Shark Week’s opening-night fake documentary does not appear to have taken a bite out of the franchise’s performance. Wednesday, Great White Serial Killer clocked an average of 3.2 million viewers at 10 PM, to become Shark Week’s most-watched Wednesday program in the franchise’s 26 years. (Top Ten Sharkdown delivered 2.78 million viewers at 9.) Interestingly, Wednesday’s Serial Killer netted a bigger crowd than either of Shark Week’s Tuesday programs: I Escaped Jaws (2.71 million) and Spawn of Jaws (2.77 million).
Discovery’s Shark Week Facebook page was swamped Monday with self-described longtime viewers who raged against Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives – the opening-night premiere, in which actors playing scientists bloviated about the “return” of a monster shark that became extinct 1.5 million years ago. It appears that Shark Week fans are not regular viewers of Discovery’s Animal Planet channel, or they’d be wise to the whole fake docu programming thread that’s taking hold at the company. Just this past June, after Animal Planet’s fake docu, Mermaid: The New Evidence (a follow-up to its earlier fake docu, Mermaids: The Body Found) snagged that network’s biggest haul in its history (nearly 4 million viewers), the mermaid show’s creator was promoted to oversee a newly created Original Content Group for Discovery’s whole company of networks.The outraged fans have not hurt viewing levels, in yearly night-by-night comparisons. That said, Serial Killer’s Wednesday crowd is dwarfed by the nearly 5 million who tuned in for Megalodon.
Shark After Dark, Discovery’s first stab at a late night after-show, clocked around 1 million viewers Wednesday night. That’s about half as many people as had tuned in to the first night of the talk show. On Monday and Tuesday nights, Shark After Dark snagged a larger crowd than had TBS’s Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live and E!’s Chelsea Lately. Wednesday, however, SAD got beat by Colbert and by The Daily Show, which lead its program with a report about — Shark Week.