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Discovery Channel's popular Shark Week is back

Rob Lowe is excited about it. So who are we to chomp all over the fun?

Discovery Channel's annual Shark Week kicks off Sunday night, following its most-watched year ever and showing no signs of sinking. The popular programming event jumped its own shark long ago, but in a world where Sharknado 2: The Second One trends on Twitter, the bloody baloney of it all keeps people coming back.

You can't dip into the Shark Week waters without knowing what you're getting yourself into, so here are some facts you can feast on:

MORE SHOWS: This is the biggest year yet for the fin-tacular event, with 13 shows PLUS a live talk show, Shark After Dark, airing at 11 p.m. each night. The "hourlong celebration of all things shark-related" hosted by comedian Josh Wolf will feature experts and celebrity guests (last year's included Sharknado queen Tara Reid).

"SO SHARKY": If you haven't seen the Shark Week promo starring Rob Lowe — in which the actor rides two sharks through the ocean as more jump majestically into the air behind him — head to tampabay.com/blogs/media immediately to watch. Sadly, Lowe isn't actually appearing in any of this year's specials.

WE HEART SHARKS: Last year was the highest-rated Shark Week ever, with 2.12 million people tuning in during the primetime programming, according to Discovery. Overall, almost 29 million unique viewers watched, and Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives was the week's highest-rated show in the franchise's history, with about 5 million tuning in. That's a whole lotta shark love.

MEGA SHARKS AND MORE: Shows this year include Sharkageddon, in which Hawaiian native and surf legend Kala Alexander attempts to explain the state's recent shark invasion; Lair of the Mega Shark, about a life-or-death mission to investigate a 20-foot Great White that resembles the legend of Maoris, "lord of the sharks"; Zombie Sharks, which explores "tonic immobility, a catatonic zombie-like state that can be achieved in sharks"; and Spawn of Jaws 2: The Birth, which follows Dr. Michael Domeier's quest to be the first to capture the birth of a baby great white shark. See the full Shark Week schedule at discovery.com.

IS ANY OF THIS REAL?: All those shows we just told you about? Take those crazy-sounding premises with a grain of sea salt. The Discovery Channel faced controversy last year for the fact that a lot of their shark "documentaries" lack, um, facts. Last year's Megalodon: The Monster Shark That Lives was about a "monster shark" that's been extinct for more than a million years. The show didn't exactly make that clear, and Time reported that a post-show poll showed 79 percent of viewers thought the megalodon was still alive.

Discovery Channel's popular Shark Week is back 08/08/14 [Last modified: Monday, August 11, 2014 11:18am]

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