Underwatertimes.com News Service - June 6, 2011 20:05 EST

SHARK WEEK, cable television's longest-running programming event and the ultimate summertime ritual, returns to Discovery Channel Sunday, July 31 at 9PM with seven all-new specials and some of the most watched shows from recent years. The 24th annual fin-filled celebration will feature Discovery Channel's new Chief Shark Officer (CSO), comedian Andy Samberg.

As CSO, Samberg is featured in the on-air marketing campaign and also puts his own unique spin on SHARK CITY (wt). For the one-hour special, Samberg travels to the Bahamas and takes the plunge - literally jumping into the shark-filled waters to introduce viewers to a specific group of sharks that live off the shores of Nassau. They each have their own distinct personalities, quirks and feeding patterns. Learn how they size each other up, what they like to eat and what scares THEM.

Also slated for 2011 are shows where great whites are the stars...and they're everywhere. In GREAT WHITE INVASION (wt), viewers will see that, around the globe, great white sharks seem to be coming closer to shore and swimming among unsuspecting humans. In Australia, South Africa and on our own west coast, the great whites swim under surfers as they catch waves and in the shallow waters of popular beaches. If this is happening, why are there so few attacks? This is a question everyone wants answered because, no matter where you swim, you're apt to have a close encounter of the great white kind!

Utilizing state-of-the-art tagging technology, JAWS COMES HOME follows five great white sharks as they make their recently discovered 1,200-mile journey up and down the eastern seaboard, appearing off Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Rounding out the week are specials that: analyze shark bites, showing the species' unique forms of hunting in a special featuring Dave Canterbury and Cody Lundin of Discovery's DUAL SURVIVAL; tell the story of the shark attacks off the beaches of South Africa in December 1957 and what might have been the culprit; look at the unprecedented wave of shark attacks that swept the eastern coast of Australia in the summer of 2009 and shark experts' struggle to understand what was happening; and dive into the science behind the premise that sharks may "go rogue" and actually target humans.

Last year's SHARK WEEK was watched by 30.8 million people, making it the most-watched SHARK WEEK on record. On the social media front, conversation around the iconic annual event took over Facebook status updates and Twitter streams throughout the week. SHARK WEEK and shark-related topics trended across U.S. and worldwide audiences on Twitter, staying in the top ten several days. Fans continue to connect with SHARK WEEK year-round at facebook.com/sharkweek and on Twitter via Discovery and #sharkweek.