A program that generated more than its share of griping also set a high-water mark in the ratings. Discovery Channel announced today that “Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White,” which helped kick off this year’s “Shark Week,” became the highest-rated telecast in “Shark Week” history in a number of key demos.
As we reported earlier this week, Discovery found itself on the defensive after viewers expressed disappointment that the show appeared to fall short of its promise to show Olympian Michael Phelps in a one-on-one race with a great white shark. Instead Phelps was shown racing against — and coming in second to — a CGI shark that used scientific data to simulate the animal’s top speed.
Discovery announced that the program set “Shark Week” ratings records in viewers 25-54, women 25-54 and women 18-49, while also averaging more than 5 million total viewers.
“In addition to the medals for “Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White,” Discovery was Sunday night’s #1 basic cable network in prime time, while also topping all broadcast networks across P/M 25-54, P/M/W18-49, and P/M/W18-34,” Discovery announced today. “Across the whole day, Shark Week programming reached over 15 million Total Viewers.”
“Shark Week” programming continues on Discovery, including another Michael Phelps event, “Shark School with Michael Phelps,” set for Sunday, July 30, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
“Michael Phelps joins Doc Gruber and Tristan Guttridge of the Bimini Shark Lab; they’ll dispel the myths and common misconceptions, teach him how to safely dive with sharks — including how to stay calm when a hammerhead swims two feet above his face — and will get Michael Phelps up close and personal with the incredible power of a great white,” Discovery says in today’s announcement.