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Nat Geo’s ‘SharkFest’ Expands to Megalodon-Sized 6 Weeks Across 4 Networks and Disney+ (Exclusive)

Watch first teaser of “Shark Beach With Chris Hemsworth” here

National Geographic is biting off more “SharkFest” content than fans can chew– er, view all at once this year, with six weeks of programming spread across four networks and streaming service Disney+, TheWrap has learned exclusively.

2021’s “SharkFest,” which is the ninth annual edition of Nat Geo’s “fin-tastic” summer event, will start swimming Monday, July 5. The biggest titles in this year’s megalodon-sized lineup include “Shark Beach With Chris Hemsworth,” which debuts that first night at 9/8c on Nat Geo, and the feature doc “Playing With Sharks,” which premieres July 23 on Disney+.

“Shark Beach With Chris Hemsworth” follows the global movie star as he embarks on a personal mission to investigate how we can live more harmoniously with sharks, per Nat Geo. The one-hour documentary special from Nutopia (“One Strange Rock”) features shark icon and conservationist Valerie Taylor, who takes Hemsworth for a shark dive to experience firsthand the awe and beauty of nurse sharks, and other preeminent shark experts who are exploring new preventative measures and the latest technology to help stave off shark-human encounters.

Watch TheWrap’s exclusive trailer for that series via the video above.

Disney+ original movie “Playing With Sharks” also features Taylor, whose life’s work has become the basis for much of what we know about sharks today. Through remarkable underwater archival footage, along with interviews, the 90-minute film, from twice Emmy-nominated director Sally Aitken, follows this daring ocean explorer’s trajectory from champion spearfisher to passionate shark protector.

Last year, “SharkFest” consisted of five weeks of programming across two networks. This time around, and for the first time ever, shark-themed content will be available on National Geographic, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo Mundo and Disney XD, with select series and specials launching Fridays on Disney+, beginning July 9, after their initial linear airings.

Disney+ will also debut the “best” programming from the previous eight years of “SharkFest” beginning June 25, while Hulu will stream all six seasons of “When Sharks Attack.”

Disney XD will be the home of 12 hours of shark-filled programming every Saturday and Sunday at 6/5c through July 25, with original title “Eyewitness Shark: Fin Frenzy,” where experts break down amazing shark viral videos and reveal clues to help us understand sharks like never before, premiering July 11 at 7/6c.

This year’s roster of shark experts featured in “SharkFest” content include:

“The mysteries of the ocean’s most iconic predators are so vast, even with eight years of shark-focused content under our belt, there still remains more to be discovered,” Janet Vissering, senior vice president of development and production at National Geographic Partners, told TheWrap. “Like every year, shark scientists and oceanic experts have pulled out all the stops for this year’s ‘SharkFest,’ revealing new discoveries, shocking revelations and bizarre shark behavior never seen before. It’s going to be jaw-some!”

SharkFest’s full original programming lineup is below, in Nat Geo’s own words. The dates are subject to change.

WHEN SHARKS ATTACK
National Geographic — Premieres July 5, at 8/7c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Aug. 2, at 8/7c
Disney+ — Beginning July 9
The world’s beaches quickly turn deadly in this terror-filled deep-sea saga when sharks descend, shocking the local community and sending scientists reeling. What causes these spikes in activity? And how can they be prevented?

SHARK BEACH WITH CHRIS HEMSWORTH
National Geographic — Premieres July 5, at 9/8c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Aug. 2, at 10/9c
Disney+ — Beginning July 9
Chris Hemsworth is on a mission to uncover the science of shark behavior and discover how humans and sharks can safely coexist. After an increase in local shark attacks along the east coast of Australia, Hemsworth seeks to understand different species of sharks and their behaviors while also exploring new preventative measures and the latest technology to help stave off shark-human encounters. The special from Nutopia (“One Strange Rock”) also features underwater conservationist and legend Valerie Taylor.

ROGUE SHARK?
National Geographic — Premieres July 5, at 10/9c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Aug. 11, at 10/9c
Disney+ — Beginning July 9
In October 2018, the remote islands of the Whitsunday in Australia were rocked by a series of shark attacks. Incredibly, all the victims were attacked in the same small patch of ocean, no larger than four football fields. Was a rogue serial killer on the loose? Or was something new drawing sharks and humans into conflict?

ORCA VS. GREAT WHITE
National Geographic — Premieres July 6, at 10/9c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Aug. 3, at 10/9c
Disney+ — Beginning July 9
Off the coast of South Africa in 2017, orcas began hunting and killing great white sharks. Now, researchers in New Zealand set out to discover if it could happen again. Diving with several shark populations along New Zealand’s southern coast, they investigate this murder mystery and seek answers to this burning question: have their local orcas developed a taste for great white sharks?

SHARK GANGS
National Geographic — Premieres July 7, at 10/9c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Aug. 12, at 8/7c
Disney+ — Beginning July 9
For years sharks have been viewed as solitary predators, but scientists have recently discovered a surprising new behavior. In this special, we reveal how this apex predator likes to hang out in gangs. So what is behind this behavior? Do sharks enjoy a social life, or are they working together to become even more effective hunters?

CROC THAT ATE JAWS
National Geographic — Premieres July 8, at 10/9c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Aug. 4, at 10/9c
Disney+ — Beginning July 9
From mysterious severed heads and ambush attacks to mob hunts and stand-offs, what happens when two of the deadliest predators on the planet go head-to-head?

WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS SHARK?
National Geographic — Premieres July 9, at 10/9c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Aug. 5, at 10/9c
Disney+ — Beginning July 16
The great white has a reputation for being the scariest in the sea, but Explorer Jacques Cousteau called the oceanic whitetip “The most dangerous of all sharks … Two teams of experts dive deep into the world of the oceanic whitetip to reveal what makes this species a top contender for the title of “world’s most dangerous shark.”

SHARK ATTACK FILES
National Geographic — Premieres July 12, at 9/8c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Aug. 9, at 10/9c
Disney+ — Beginning July 16
This action-packed series is an investigation into bizarre and fascinating shark behavior. Featuring footage from actual attacks, interactions and behavior captured by both professionals and observant bystanders, every twist and turn leaves viewers sitting on the edge of their seats. Scientific experts and investigators dive deeper into the mystery of these unexplained behaviors and come to a stunning revelation that ties these extraordinary events together.

SHARK ATTACK INVESTIGATION: THE PAIGE WINTER STORY 
National Geographic — Premieres July 12, at 10/9c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Aug. 6, at 10/9c
Disney+ — Beginning July 16
Paige Winter was only 17 years old when she lost a leg and portion of her hand to a shark. Experts unpack the details of Paige’s attack to determine what kind of shark is responsible and what can be done, if anything, to avoid this happening again. Despite all Paige has lived through, this inspirational teen remains an advocate for sharks and, with the guidance of professionals, takes brave steps to overcome her greatest fears.

WORLD’S BIGGEST BULL SHARK?
National Geographic — Premieres July 13, at 10/9c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Aug. 10, at 9/8c
Disney+ — Beginning July 16
It was a freak encounter that broke all the records. In 2012, off the coast of Florida, shark scientist Dr. Neil Hammerschlag caught the mother of all bull sharks—it stretched more than 10-feet long and weighed over 1,000 pounds. They named her Big Bull and set her free. Bull sharks in Florida patrol the beaches, terrifyingly close the swimmers, and feast on seasonal migrations of baitfish. Many long thought these sharks were just well-fed, but now some scientists believe that Big Bull is the matriarch of a unique population of giants. There is only one way to find out … and you gotta get close.

KILLER SHARK VS. KILLER WHALE 
National Geographic — Premieres July 15, at 10/9c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Aug. 11, at 9/8c
Disney+ — Beginning Aug. 6
The mystery of orcas attacking great white sharks for their livers leaves scientists baffled. This unusual predatory behavior has been witnessed in three parts of the world: California, South Africa and Australia. But the most shocking outcome is the disappearance of the other sharks after the event. How are they communicating with their kin and getting out of dodge when the killer whales move in?

PLAYING WITH SHARKS
Disney+ — Premieres July 23
A true pioneer in both underwater filmmaking and shark research, Valerie Taylor is a living legend and icon in the underwater world whose life’s work has become the basis for much of what we know about sharks today. Through remarkable underwater archival footage, along with interviews with Taylor, “Playing With Sharks,” from National Geographic Documentary Films and twice Emmy-nominated director Sally Aitken, follows this daring ocean explorer’s trajectory from champion spearfisher to passionate shark protector. From the birth of cage diving to “Jaws” hysteria to the dawn of cageless shark diving, Taylor became a trailblazing advocate for the ocean’s most maligned and misunderstood creatures.