So this is what it’s come to.
Michael Phelps is going to race a great white shark for Discovery’s “Shark Week.” Titled “Phelps Vs. Shark: Great Gold Vs. Great White,” the Summer Olympics legend will possibly be devoured Sunday, July 23 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
The actual logistical details are unknown at this point. It’s possible Phelps will swim against a CGI shark, based on traditional Great White rates of speed. Or perhaps there will be an actual shark in a separate (or separated) pool. Discovery also did not reveal whether or not Phelps (or the man-eating fish, we suppose) gets a head start.
Here’s the Peacock Productions’ stunt programming’s official description:
They are one of the fastest and most efficient predators on the planet: Sharks. He is our greatest champion to ever get in the water: Michael Phelps. 39 world records. 23 Olympic golds. But he has one competition left to win. An event so monumental no one has ever attempted it before. The world’s most decorated athlete takes on the ocean’s most efficient predator: “Phelps V Shark” – the race is on!
Nat Geo Wild pulled a similar stunt for its “Big Cat Week” back in Nov. 29, 2013, when NFL running back Chris Johnson lost to a cheetah.
The rest of the “Shark Week” schedule is posted below, with all descriptions in Discovery Channel’s own words.
GREAT WHITE SHARK SERIAL KILLER LIVES – Airing Sunday, July 23 at 7PM ET/PT
Every two years in October – in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014 – a secluded beach on the central California coast has been the scene of great white shark attacks. Is it the same shark returning again and again? And will the attacks continue in October 2016? Dr. Michael Domeier believes the Surf Beach attacks may be more than a tragic coincidence. With the help of shark experts Ralph Collier and Cal Lutheran, and using satellite tags and DNA technology, he wants to out the killer once and for all. Produced by Shark Entertainment.
SHARK-CROC SHOWDOWN – Airing Sunday, July 23 at 9:10PM ET/PT
Dr. Mark Meekan and conservationist Paul de Gelder go on an expedition to one the sharkiest places in the world – a remote wilderness called the Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory of Australia. Meekan is there to count sharks and species as part of Vulcan’s Global FinPrint project – Paul de Gelder’s going because he heard that sharks and crocs fight over sea turtles out there. What happens when 14-foot crocodiles move into shark infested waters? That’s what they’re going to find out! Produced by Big Wave.
DEVIL SHARKS – Airing Sunday, July 23 at 10:10PM ET/PT
From active to extinct, and at every stage in between, volcanoes hold a strong attraction for sharks of all kinds. Across the world, sharks congregate and concentrate around volcanoes and volcanic islands. What is it about volcanoes that make them shark hotspots? Dr. Mike Heithaus dives in several volcanoes to find out. Produced by Pangolin Pictures.
SHARK VORTEX – Airing Monday, July 24 at 8PM ET/PT
Each summer the Gulf Stream pushes north into the waters of southern New England, bringing with it 30 species of shark. Greg Skomal and Joe Romeiro study the annual spectacle, focusing on three sharks – makos, great whites, and porbeagles – that can out-swim, out-think, and out-compete all the others. Produced by 333 Productions and Radley Studios.
RETURN TO THE ISLE OF JAWS – Airing Monday, July 24 at 9PM ET/PT
Divers and scientists RETURN TO THE ISLE OF JAWS to unlock the mysteries of this new great white hot spot, just south of Western Australia. They make a startling discovery that causes us to re-think of everything we thought we knew about great whites. Produced by Red Rock Films.
ALIEN SHARKS: STRANGER FINS – Airing Monday, July 24 at 10PM ET/PT
ALIEN SHARKS is back in search of some of the world’s strangest sharks. Dr. Craig O’Connell goes to the Bass Strait for sawsharks, while Victoria Elena Vasquez and Dr. David Ebert go into deep water in Tokyo Bay to find the star of the show, the goblin shark. They find both sawsharks and goblins – and many more, including ghost sharks, frilled sharks, and the amazing luminescent lantern shark. Produced by Discovery Studios.
SHARKS AND THE CITY: LA – Airing Tuesday, July 25 at 9PM ET/PT
Along the coastline of LA, great white sharks are increasing and they seem to be hunting out of season. Dr. Chris Lowe, Director of the CSULB Shark Lab, wants to know why. His investigation takes him to Guadalupe Island, off Mexico, where he finds the answer. Produced by Arrow Media.
SHARKS AND THE CITY: NEW YORK – Airing Tuesday, July 25 at 10PM ET/PT
For decades, great white shark numbers were in decline in the waters around New York. But now, seals are back in New York Harbor – can the great whites be far behind? Marine biologist Craig O’Connell tries to find out how close they really are, and shows what a future with great whites in New York will look like. Produced by Pangolin Pictures.
THE LOST CAGE – Airing Wednesday, July 26 at 9PM ET/PT
A team of explorers float in a one-of-a-kind shark cage, 500 miles into the Gulf of Mexico. Acting as human lures in the open ocean will they encounter its deadliest shark? Produced by Gurney Entertainment.
GREAT HAMMERHEAD INVASION – Airing Wednesday, July 26 at 10PM ET/PT
Early November, giant hammerheads arrive off Bimini, in the Bahamas. But why? Leading shark scientist Tristan Guttridge tags and follows these normally solitary sharks to find out. Many appear to be pregnant females, as an ultrasound of a female hammerhead shows. Guttridge believes they spend winter in Bimini to feed the growing young in their bellies – and then move on to the Florida coast to prey on migrating blacktips – and the evidence is unmistakable. Produced by Icon Films.
SHARK EXILE – Airing Thursday, July 27 at 9PM ET/PT
In Brazil, Dr. Hazin has successfully reduced the number of shark encounters by simply catching and moving sharks out to the open sea. What’s his secret? And can this solution work in Australia, where encounters are a problem? Produced by Sealight Pictures.
SHARK SWARM – Airing Thursday, July 27 at 10PM ET/PT
At various times of the year and in different locations around the world, sharks of many kinds gather, swarm, and spiral. Dr. Tristan Guttridge conducts a study of just what brings them together, and what’s going on in these shark ‘societies.’ Produced by Red Rock Films.
AFRICAN SHARK SAFARI – Airing Friday, July 28 at 9PM ET/PT
Madagascar is NOT known as a location for great white sharks. According to the shark sanctuary here, both great whites and tigers are ‘extinct’ in Madagascan waters. So why has a great white shark, tagged in South Africa, travelled 1500 miles up the African coast to Madagascar? Craig O’Connell and the team make the long journey to the remote island nation to investigate and see if Madagascar is the next big great white shark hotspot. Produced by Arrow Media.
LAIR OF THE SAWFISH – Airing Friday, July 28 at 10PM ET/PT
Experts unravel the mystery behind one of the sea’s strangest creatures, the sawfish, from its evolutionary links to sharks and rays, to its key role in the marine ecosystem. Their goal is to bring the sawfish back from the brink of extinction. Produced by Radley Studios and Delve Creative.
SHARKMANIA – Airing Saturday, July 29 at 9PM ET/PT
A rundown of the greatest moments from SHARK WEEK 2017, featuring the closest calls, biggest bites, greatest gadgets, and viewers’ top picks for the best of SHARK WEEK history. Produced by Discovery Studios.
SHARK SCHOOL WITH MICHAEL PHELPS – Airing Sunday, July 30 at 8PM ET/PT
Michael Phelps joins Doc Gruber and Tristan Guttridge of the Bimini Shark Lab to get a crash course on everything ‘shark.’ They’ll dispel the myths and