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Tag: Shark Week (1-10 of 24)

Talking 'Great White Matrix,' shark demonization

Paul de Gelder has every reason to steer clear of the ocean. In 2009, the former daredevil Navy clearance diver was attacked by a bull shark in Sydney Harbor. He lost his right arm and leg in the process. Images of reenactments, which have become synonymous with Shark Week, are likely filling your head right about now. This, however, is not an attack story.

Saturday, de Gelder will return to the water, this time with great white sharks, to investigate a spike in deadly shark attacks in Australia for Great White Matrix. De Gelder, who had never seen a great white shark until making this program, will co-host alongside long-time Shark Week filmmaker Andy Casagrande.

The pair have undeniable chemistry (“We get along like a house on fire,” de Gelder says), but Casagrande was initially wary about telling a shark attack story, fearing they would demonize sharks. His concern quickly changed upon meeting and subsequently working with de Gelder, who is making his hosting debut. “He once told me it definitely wasn’t a great thing to get attacked by a shark, but it sort of allowed him to actualize, not his goal in life, but why he’s here,” Casagrande says. “He’s a champion for sharks and conservation.”

For de Gelder, it’s simple: Having faced death, there’s not much else to be afraid of, which is why he’s back in the water, working to protect the declining species. “The bottom line is knowledge dispels fear,” de Gelder says. “The more we can teach people, the more they can understand and respect, and be in awe of these animals; the more they’ll fall in love with them, the more they’ll want to protect them, just like Andy and I want to do.”

In Great White Matrix, de Gelder and Casagrande hope to answer a number of questions: When do shark bites turn into fatalities? What do juvenile great white sharks tell us about adults and attacks on humans? Is every mature great white shark a man-eater?

By the end, they only scratch the surface (we’ll avoid spoiler territory), but they learn about the myriad attack styles of great white sharks using multiple GoPro cameras to capture the different angles of a bite. In the process, the sharks are shown baring their jaws, lunging toward prey, and acting violently.

This is where the criticism comes in. Though the show has yet to air, Casagrande is a vet, and expects at least some backlash for showing such predatory behavior and further “demonizing” sharks. “The reality is, I say it in the show, if you’re going to showcase the world’s greatest athlete, you’re not showing him sitting on his coach, hanging out, drinking coffee, just chilling out there,” Casagrande says. “You’re going to show his amazing or her amazing athletic prowess: how fast she is, how high she can jump, her strength. That’s what we do on these shows.”

Criticism aside, both would love to make a tentatively titled follow-up, Great White Matrix 2. If not a sequel, they have a few other ideas up their sleeve (which they declined to share at this point). There’s still much more to explore with the elusive great white sharks and we can certainly expect de Gelder to get back in the water.

“There’s so many unanswered questions and that’s true with a lot of sharks, but great whites are sort of a mystery still,” de Gelder says. “It’s kind of like hunting Big Foot, except you know Big Foot’s there and now you just want to learn about him. It’s just an enchanting sort of exercise in a world where we kind of know everything about everything or we think we do. There’s still these unanswered questions about one of the oldest species of animals on the planet.”

Great White Matrix airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery Channel.

GoPros on dorsal fins: How a Shark Week filmmaker tells sharks' stories

Shark Week is highly visual: Its name alone conjures up images of great white sharks breaching out of the sapphire blue waters of South Africa in slow motion. Between their impressive size and sleek design, sharks lend themselves to sight. They are the perfect subjects to be filmed, entirely photogenic.

This imagery grabbed hold of Andy Casagrande, now a long-time Shark Week filmmaker, at an early age—he grew up on Shark Week. “I’m so passionate about sharks, always have been,” Casagrande says. “I saw my first [shark] on television and never looked back.” READ FULL STORY

Are orcas killing great whites by turning them into 'Zombie Sharks'?

Loyal Shark Week viewers have, in years past, seen reef sharks turn upside down and go near catatonic. It’s a state known as “tonic immobility,” and while the sharks appear to enjoy it, it also renders them unable to defend themselves. In the new special Zombie Sharks (premiering Aug. 13 at 9 p.m. ET on Discovery), professional diver Eli Martinez sets out to determine whether great whites can, like their reef brethren, also achieve tonic. If so, it could help support one theory about a recent spike in orca attacks on white sharks: killer whales may have learned how to induce the state. Since there’s nothing not interesting about the idea of zombie sharks, we talked with Martinez about the phenomenon and his show.

READ FULL STORY

Shark scientist on Paul Walker's passion, finishing new special

During last year’s special Spawn of Jaws, Shark Week fans watched Dr. Michael Domeier tag a pregnant great white named Gil Rakers in hopes of eventually locating the pupping grounds, which need protection. He was helped by his friend Paul Walker, the actor who’d studied marine biology in college and had a passion for sharks and marine conservation. When Walker died in Nov. 2013, production had only recently begun on part two of that journey, Spawn of Jaws: The Birth, which premieres Aug. 13 at 10 p.m. ET on Discovery. As Domeier tells EW, he struggled with whether to finish the project: “Honestly, I really didn’t want to keep working on the film. But after a few months went by, I decided, ‘Okay, Paul would want us to finish it, let’s finish it.'” Seeing Walker’s smile in the exclusive clip below, it’s clear Domeier made the right call.  READ FULL STORY

Shark researcher Paul Clerkin takes EW on a dive into 'Alien Sharks'

The ocean is a vast space, much of which has yet to be uncovered. Sharks are no exception, and what’s out there might will surprise you. Insert Alien Sharks: Return to the Abyss, which aired tonight on Discovery Channel and explored the mysterious world of alien sharks.

The special was led by shark researcher Paul Clerkin (pictured above holding a longnose velvet dogfish), a fourth year graduate student at San Jose University, studying marine science at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories with a focus on shark ecology at Pacific Shark Research Center; working with and discovering new shark species has been the focus of his research. In the special, Clerkin set out to uncover never-before-seen alien sharks, and in many ways his search proved successful.

Here, Clerkin talks about his passion—alien sharks—his new discoveries, and his holy grail: the bigeye raggedtooth shark.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How do you define an alien shark?
PAUL CLERKIN:
Alien sharks have otherworldly features they’ve adapted from living in an environment so different than our own. Because we rarely have access to this world, they are very strange to our eyes. That is part of why I love studying them. Sharks are an incredibly diverse group, and there is an entire world below the surface that we have not explored. In an ever-shrinking world, it is exciting to venture to remote locations and discover species that have remained hidden for the last 400 million years. Weird sharks need love, too.

You are one of a select few to see these creatures in the wild. What is it like seeing these alien sharks up close, especially considering that most people will only see these creatures on-screen?
It is simply amazing. There is no other way to put it. The animals have such unique features, and as a shark scientist, I am thrilled to be fortunate enough to encounter and handle these beautiful monsters. There is something humbling about being the first human to ever interact with a species that has existed since before the dinosaurs.

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'It's like being on the moon': Inside Shark Week's first night cage dive

He’s worked on Shark Week for more than two decades, but veteran filmmaker Jeff Kurr still experiences firsts. In Lair of the Mega Shark (premieres Aug. 12 at 10 p.m. ET on Discovery), Kurr and fellow shark expert/cameraman Andy Casagrande head to New Zealand to investigate the sightings of a 20-foot great white. As Kurr watches on a monitor aboard the boat, Casagrande and colleague Kina Scollay take part in the first-ever cage dive at night in those waters—where aggressive sharks are known to work in tandem as a gang. The resulting six-minute sequence could deliver the most nerve-wracking moments of Shark Week 2014. READ FULL STORY

Shark Week: Inside 'Jaws Strikes Back'

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In the Shark Week special Jaws Strikes Back (premiering Aug. 11, at 9 p.m. ET. on Discovery), marine biologist Greg Skomal takes the sharkcam, which allows him to track a great white at depths of 300 feet, to the remote Pacific island of Guadalupe. His team had two objectives: “We wanted to test the new tool, sharkcam—the drone if you will—in a place where we could really run it through the riggers of following sharks and where we had good visibility,” he says.

They also wanted to solve a mystery: “Whenever you have white sharks and seals together, usually you see white sharks attack and eat the seals. Certainly Discovery Channel has covered that extensively on Shark Week numerous times. But Guadalupe is a place where you just typically do not see that kind of behavior. We’re wondering: there’s seals there, there’s sharks there, what is going on? Where are these attacks occurring? Or maybe they’re not occurring at all….How do white sharks behave around Guadalupe Island after they leave the boats that are chumming them in? Are they going and attacking seals at night? Are they doing things at depths? Or are they just going away and ignoring them? Those were the questions we had.”

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Shark Week: How Discovery chooses titles like 'Air Jaws: Fin of Fury'

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As Shark Week begins Sunday, Aug. 10, so does viewers’ amazement at the titles of Discovery’s new specials. “We have brainstorm meetings for titles on every show, and I’m telling you, when a brainstorm meeting on the next car show comes up, you go to a conference room and there’s like four people in it,” Michael Sorensen, VP of development and production for the channel, says. “Anytime we have a Shark Week brainstorm for titles, you have to get more seats. It’s packed, people throwing out mash-ups: One of my favorites that came out of one of these meetings was Sharkcano. I’m like, ‘I don’t even know what that is, but if we ever find sharks feeding around underwater volcanos, I’m sure there’s a show there.'”

A good title does often come first, he admits. “This might be a bit of a spoiler for next year, but Donna [Alessandro, VP of programming] came in, and she’s like, ‘I know one: The Bride of Jaws.’ I was like, ‘What is that show?’ She’s like, ‘I don’t know. That’s for you to figure out.’ So it took us like three or four months thinking, ‘Is The Bride of Jaws a love story? Is it about how great whites are mating? Is it the journey to bring two sharks together?’ And then finally, we met with this incredible science team in Australia who’s been working with this shark called Joan of Shark, which was a pretty big news story a couple months ago. She’s the biggest female great white they’ve ever seen. We’re like, ‘That could be it! That could be the focus here,'” he says. “Now it’s a show with a fantastic title, and I think it’s gonna have some incredible science.”

Here, Sorensen shares the stories behind some of 2014’s most noteworthy specials, including Air Jaws: Fin of Fury, Lair of the Mega Shark, and Zombie Sharks. READ FULL STORY

Shark Week: Inside two must-see 'Air Jaws: Fin of Fury' moments

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Discovery’s 27th Annual Shark Week officially kicks off Sunday, Aug. 10 with the premiere of Air Jaws: Fin of Fury (8 p.m. ET). Veteran filmmaker Jeff Kurr led his team on a two-year hunt for Colossus, the aggressive “mega-shark” with a deformed dorsal fin he famously captured breaching at Seal Island, South Africa, in 2011. Here’s a sneak peek of two of the hour’s most tense moments, with commentary from Kurr. READ FULL STORY

Watch Rob Lowe's delightfully bonkers Shark Week promo

You thought this guy was the King of Summer? Nope.

Clearly, only one man is truly awesome (and crazy) enough to trek across the ocean atop two great whites, nonchalantly tossing chum in the air as a hot mermaid hitches a ride by his side. That man’s name: Rob Lowe, erstwhile Parks and Rec star, once and future Lifetime luminary, and all-around swell guy. He isn’t appearing in any Discovery specials this year as part of the network’s annual Shark Week—but he is doing some splendidly ridiculous stuff in this exclusive promo.

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Discovery Channel announces Shark Week premieres, teases glow-in-the-dark sharks -- EXCLUSIVE

Discovery Channel has revealed the dates and early line-up for its wildly (get it? GET IT?) popular Shark Week, the network’s almost 30-year-old annual summertime event.

Shark Week 2014 will kick off on Discovery Sunday, August 10, and will continue all week long with new programming during primetime followed each night by the hourlong special Shark After Dark, airing live at 11 p.m., featuring shark experts and celebrity guests (last year’s included Tara Reid and Dominic Monaghan) breaking down the evening’s events. READ FULL STORY

Discovery Channel hammered for 'Megalodon' shark special

A Discovery Channel special that speculated about whether a giant prehistoric shark could still exist today has drawn a passionate response from viewers — both good and bad.

The program, Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives, opened Discovery’s annual Shark Week this weekend. With an estimated 4.8 million viewers, it had the largest audience of any show in the 26 years that Discovery has made Shark Week a part of its summer programming.

Yet it drew a heated response online from viewers who said airing a “mockumentary” that talks seriously about the existence of a creature known only from its fossils compromises the network’s reputation.

Discovery, for its part, defended the fake documentary. “With a whole week of Shark Week programming ahead of us, we wanted to explore the possibilities of Megalodon,” Shark Week executive producer Michael Sorensen said in a statement. “It’s one of the most debated shark discussions of all time, can Megalodon exist today? It’s Ultimate Shark Week fantasy. The stories have been out there for years and with 95 percent of the ocean unexplored, who really knows?”
READ FULL STORY

Shark Week promo: There's a reason it's not called Seal Week -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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Discovery doesn’t kick off its 26th annual Shark Week until Aug. 4, but we have your first look at the promo now. We think you can tell from the picture where this is headed… READ FULL STORY

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