It's Shark Week on Discovery Channel! - East Valley Tribune: Tv

TV Outlook It's Shark Week on Discovery Channel!

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Posted: Sunday, August 12, 2012 7:15 am

If "Shark Week" personality Philip DeFranco had to choose between being devoured by a shark or piranhas, he's already made up his mind.

"Definitely a shark," he says. "With a piranha, you keep waiting there as they chomp on you. It's, like, they're still chewing and chewing. Are you done yet? Oh? You're still chewing on me?

"At least with a Great White, hopefully, it's one big buttery motion and then you go dark" when they attack.

As one of the hosts of "Shark Week" (taking off at 9 p.m. Sunday, Discovery), DeFranco has had to ponder such scenarios. It's such unusual situations that have made the cable channel's annual celebration and examination of sharks an across-the-board hit for 25 years.

Ten new programs, designed to entertain and educate, make up this year's line-up, including "Air Jaws Apocalypse" (9 p.m. Sunday), "Sharkzilla" (9 p.m. Monday) and "Shark Fight" (9 p.m. Wednesday).

In 25 years, technology has changed the way we get to see sharks. "New things are being pushed, like camera technology being so much better," says Brooke Runnette, executive producer of "Shark Week."

The so-called "phantom" technology allows for less evasive glimpses into the world of sharks. "The cameras are so advanced that they are actually advancing science," Runnette says.

Why are we so fascinated with sharks? "Sharks are the last 'wild' thing. The power and the general awesomeness (make) them (near) the top of the food chain," she says, "and there is something interesting in all of that."

The 25th "Shark Week" is more voyeuristic than ever, documenting areas of frequent attacks and interviewing people who survived being in the water with the predators.

There's even room for fun. DeFranco will appear throughout the week and urge viewers to vote in a "chomp down" in which sharks face off against enemies in nature.

DeFranco says five days of programming devoted to sharks makes sense when you look over the rest that nature has to offer. (He's talking about you, piranhas.)

"They're smooth. They're iconic. They're a lot of species," DeFranco says of sharks. "They're just awesome."

Other highlights for the week of Aug. 12-18. All times Eastern. Listings subject to change. Check local listings:

SUNDAY

-- "Summer Olympics: The Closing Ceremony" (NBC, check local listings for time). Remember those billions of people who came marching through when the games opened? Well, they're back, as the torch is passed on.

-- "Comedy Central Roast" (10 p.m., Comedy Central). Roseanne Barr is in the hot seat. Tart-tongued Jane Lynch is the master of ceremonies.

-- "Animal Practice" (10:30 p.m., NBC). Justin Kirk (of "Weeds") stars in this wild sitcom as a doctor at an odd veterinarian clinic.

MONDAY

-- "Stars Earn Stripes" (8 p.m., NBC). Celebrities such as Todd Palin and Dean Cain compete to complete military missions for charity in this new reality show contest.

-- "United Bates of America" (9 p.m., TLC). A Lake City, Tenn., family with 19 kids is the subject of this family friendly reality show, in which diaper changing, long drawls and hugs are frequent.

-- "Major Crimes" (10 p.m., TNT). Mary McDonnell stars in what's being categorized as a spin-off of "The Closer." But it's really more like a sequel. Everybody from the former series is back, doing the same jobs, except McDonnell is now the lead as Captain Sharon Raydor.

TUESDAY

-- "Adrift: 47 Days with Sharks" (10 p.m., Discovery). The true story of soldiers who survived being in shark-infested waters for weeks is revealed in this documentary.

-- "The Burn" (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central). Jeff Ross turns his tongue-lashings, usually reserved for televised roasts, into a half-hour series in which he skewers personalities in pop culture.

WEDNESDAY

-- "America's Got Talent" (8 p.m., NBC). Four YouTube acts advance to the semi-finals in this installment. But the bigger question: Will departing judge Sharon Osbourne be there to see it?

-- "Oh Sit!" (8 p.m., CW). This game is basically a "musical chairs" contest. Really, WB? This is what you've come down to?

THURSDAY

-- "Great White Highway" (9 p.m., Discovery). California's sharks don't always swim around Hollywood deals. They can be found nearby in the ocean, too.

SATURDAY

-- "Dawn of the Dead" (6:30 p.m., SyFy). Perhaps the best zombie movie of this century so far, this is a remake of George Romero's less-than-stellar 1979 original.

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