Shark Week: Half of 2017 Event’s Programming Is Already Locked Up, Rich Ross Says

Discovery group president tells TheWrap his secret to keeping males glued to the TV

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Rich Ross doesn’t waste time: the Discovery Group President has already got half his programming locked up for next year’s Shark Week, he told TheWrap.

In addition to having entered production on 50 percent of what will become “Shark Week 29,” the company has also begun working all its current marketing partners for the future advertising opportunity. Merchandising efforts for next summer’s turn are also well-underway, too.

Discovery has even been busy identifying additional countries in which to launch day-and-date programming for its 2017 event — something the U.K. and Argentina are currently participating in for the ongoing Shark Week 28.

Ross perhaps summed the plan up best with a bit of a nerdy pun, referring to his team there as being “much like the shark that never stops moving.”

Another thing the main Discovery cable channel never stops doing is attracting viewers from the key male demographics. The network’s got a not-so secret formula, something that many may think Netflix actually invented: binge-viewing.

“We tell serial stories,” Ross explained of the network’s popular episode-marathon approach. “We’re very respectful of our audience. Within an hour, there are beats in a story that have a beginning, middle — but not necessarily an end.”

Apparently, this is what works best on the less-fair sex.

“I think men are very comfortable — as long as there is some sense of conclusion where the story moves on — that they want to come back,” he explained.

Discovery’s Shark Week continues tonight with the premiere of three new specials starting at 8 p.m. ET.