‘Shark Week’ 2023 Premiere Reaches Over 5.3 Million Viewers, Highest Debut in 3 Years

Discovery Channel’s 35th annual presentation led by actor Jason Momoa dominated primetime across linear and streaming

Beginning Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery, actor Jason Momoa will guide fans through nearly 20 new hours of television featuring the apex predators. (Discovery Channel)

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Sunday’s “Shark Week” premiere reached over 5.3 million viewers across Discovery Channel, Discovery+ and Max, becoming the week-long celebration’s highest-rated debut in three years.

The 35th annual presentation, hosted by “Aquaman” star and conservationist Jason Momoa, drove the network to rank No. 1 in primetime with adults and men 18 to 49, and across cable television with adults and men 25 to 54 and 18 to 49, and adults 18 to 34.

The July 23 telecast averaged a 1.13 live-plus-three rating among adults 25 to 54 — a 9% increase from last year and the largest opening night growth in six years.

“Belly of the Beast: Feeding Frenzy,” which provided a close-up look at a great white shark feast captured by researchers with cameras inside a whale carcass decoy, kicked off the night at 8 p.m. ET with a 1.10 live-plus-three rating with adults 25 to 54. 

It was followed by “Jaws vs. The Meg” from 9 pm to 10 pm ET, which showcased scientists’ research on how great whites defeated a super predator and delivered a 1.24 live-plus-three rating with adults 25 to 54 , a 7% increase over a year ago, and the No. 1 primetime telecast with men 25 to 54.

Closing out the night at 10 p.m. ET was “Serial Killer: Red Sea Attacks,” which investigated deadly shark attacks in Egypt and delivered a 1.01 live-plus-three ratings with adults 25 to 54, a 20% increase from last year.

According to Discovery, the network was the No. 1 on cable for adults, men and women, in the 25 to 54 demographic; with adults, men and women, in the coveted 18 to 49 demo, and women 18 to 34 through the first four nights of Shark Week (Sunday-Wednesday L+SD).

Warner Bros. Discovery’s linear and streaming portfolio — which includes TBS, TNT, truTV, TLC, Food Network, HGTV, CNN, Travel Channel, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Animal Planet, Science Channel, ID, TCM — are also airing Shark Week-themed content or cross-promoting the event through Saturday.

“We engaged viewers across every brand and platform because we wanted to provide memorable Shark Week experiences for them, including offering an exclusive sneak peek of “Meg 2: The Trench,” the next big theatrical release from Warner Bros. Discovery,” U.S. Networks Group senior vice president of marketing Josh Kovolenko said in a statement. “We also brokered various marketing partnerships with influential brands that are organically connected to our long-standing mission to highlight and celebrate sharks.”  

“It’s a powerful example of how we can use our platforms to showcase high-profile programming events,” Discovery Networks and TLC president Howard Lee added. “Also, our collaboration with host Jason Momoa, the fan-favorite actor and conservationist who guides viewers through each night of programming, ensured that our first night was a success and set the stage for the week’s strong performance.”

Check out the full “Shark Week” schedule here.