I have been a producer, director and host of Shark Week since 1991, making over 30 documentaries about sharks including the Emmy nominated Air Jaws programs. My mission is to help make sharks the most popular wild animals on the planet by showcasing their beauty and majesty. I love sharks they're awesome!! They deserve to be protected. Shark Week premieres tonight at 8pm Pacific and Eastern time with Air Jaws: Fin of Fury, our two year mission to find "Colossus" a legendary great white shark known to patrol False Bay, South Africa. Ask me anything! http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/08/08/shark-week-air-jaws-fin-of-fury/


Comments: 337 • Responses: 36  • Date: 

FralconPaunch308 karma

Why, given all the beauty and majesty of the earth upon which we live, does the discovery channel see fit to create fiction for the purpose of entertainment?

Is there not enough wonder in the natural world? Or, is it just cheaper to make shit up and film from a script? Does it even matter anymore to the people who run the channel?

Does it matter to you?

JeffKurr-22 karma

Personally, I have always been fascinated by the idea of a Megalodon being out there somewhere. I've spent a lot of time on the ocean and heard a lot of stories about massive sharks, but that's part of the allure of the sea… it's a giant mystery. I watch shark week to be entertained- there are a shows dealing with research, attacks, adventure… it runs the gamet… Discovery has to have a variety of shows to reach a wide audience...So, I wasn't outraged by the Meg show, I thought it was entertaining and I took it in good fun…

Hejke140 karma

How would you judge the realism of Sharknado on a scale from 1-10 and why is it 10?

JeffKurr55 karma

I would judge it be a zero… but it's still pretty "campy" fun

thelastmanbear32 karma

Many people have a fear of sharks that is not very logical, shark attacks are very unlikely and the media helps make people scared of sharks when a rare shark attack happens. What do you have to say to people who are overly scared of sharks and shark attacks?

JeffKurr63 karma

The fear of sharks is deep-rooted in most people. So, it doesn't help when the media sensationalizes a shark attack… I went on Fox News a couple of weeks ago after the Manhattan Beach "Shark Attack" to try and clarify the situation. It wasn't really an attack, this was a case of a juvenile shark that was hooked on a line fighting to escape and accidentally biting someone… I pointed out (as I always do) that sharks are all around us when we're in the ocean and they only attack under the rarest of circumstances… almost never

TDIWill30 karma

How does it feel to know Shark Week is legendary in pop culture? I can't tell you how many times I have heard it referenced in TV or movies.

JeffKurr51 karma

It's really awesome to see Shark Week in "Step Brothers" (that's my shot that Will Ferrell comments on) and all of the other references… The great thing is, people are actually talking and thinking about sharks! this is really important for the ultimate survival of these animals…

Sheltopusik23 karma

Thank you for coming on AMA! I am a huge fan of shark week, and I have a few questions about 2013 shark week...

  1. Did you have any hand in the production of the Megaladon program that aired last year?

  2. Did you support the megalodon program, or was there pressure from network executives to air the mockumentary?

  3. Were most of the staff of shark week supportive of the fake documentary, or were they mostly against it?

JeffKurr26 karma

You are welcome. I wasn't even aware of the Megalodon program until I watched it air… So, I have no idea about the making of the program…

Sheltopusik17 karma

My opinion of you just increased greatly! What did you think of the Megalodon program when you watched it?

JeffKurr30 karma

I laughed at some parts to be honest, but I wasn't "outraged" or anything… I was entertained. I get outraged at shark culling in Western Australia and things like that.

agirlontheweb18 karma

Hi, I’m an aspiring filmmaker and I’ve been super excited for this AMA! I just have a couple of questions for you:

  • I know you’ve probably heard this one pretty often, but how did you get into the business? Did you find it difficult? Any tips?

  • You did some pioneering work with your slow-motion footage of sharks. What was it like working with high-speed cameras in that kind of environment? What was it like for you to watch that footage back, seeing their behavior in such detail?

Thanks, and congratulations on all your achievements!

JeffKurr20 karma

Thanks for your question! I always loved sharks and grew up watching the Cousteau specials on TV… I had a chance to edit a shark week show way back in 1991 and fell in love with sharks and here I am still making docs about them! The high speed cameras were an incredible tool for us to see exactly what the breach of a great white shark really looks like. It's so fast! to the naked eye it's like a blur, but slo-mo was a game changer

SwaggingMyTail16 karma

How big are shark penises?

JeffKurr48 karma

Not sure, but they have 2!

SuaveWarlock15 karma

What do you see as a major challenge or challenges to helping the conservation of sharks? Is it an issue of people being uneducated about these animals and clinging to archaic beliefs?

JeffKurr32 karma

The single biggest issue is "Finning", the practice of catching sharks and cutting off their fins to make shark fin soup… I don't think those people (the commercial fisherman) are reachable or willing to change. But the great thing is, the general public is now aware of finning (thanks in large part to Shark Week) and laws are being passed banning this horrid practice and protecting sharks, so I think it will soon turn around for sharks..

straydog198024 karma

Coming from a country where shark's fin is a delicacy, I'm glad to report that there has been a real turn around in the past five years, with many restaurants and hotels refusing to serve the dish. I've not touched it myself for over 15 years and received a fair bit of ridicule for it.

I hope it dies out soon. It doesn't taste of anything except a big receipt.

JeffKurr15 karma

I agree! I think the tide is turning in favor of sharks!

GavinGG12 karma

Have you ever gone down and swam with the sharks? If so, how was it?

JeffKurr37 karma

I've spent the last 24 years swimming with sharks, great whites, tigers, bull, great hammerhead, mako, you name it… Nothing better!!! Thrilling!

IKnowScienceAndSex11 karma

Hey Jeff, thanks for doing this. 2 questions,

  1. What is your favorite shark?
  2. What's the scariest thing that ever happened to you (shark related)?

JeffKurr32 karma

My favorite shark is the white shark (great white) simply because I've spent so much time with them… And, I think the scariest thing happened to me a few months ago when I fell off the back of the boat onto the back of a 14 foot great white… the back of the boat was super slippery, so it was really hard to pull myself back on… as the shark approached!! goose bumps… but thankfully, nothing happened

Azphix10 karma

How much of the show is scripted?

JeffKurr15 karma

My shows: very little. We never know what the shark is going to do, but we always have a general game plan.

PWND_U_IN_MK8 karma

Would you rather fight 100 duck sized sharks, or one horse sized shark?

JeffKurr13 karma

I think the one horse-sized shark for sure

kingprawn897 karma

Is there anything left you want to do with our about sharks that you haven't done yet?

JeffKurr13 karma

There's tons to do! We always have ideas on the blackboard! I think it would be cool to find a way to "live" with sharks on the bottom for an extended period of time to really get a better idea what these animals are up to!

kingprawn896 karma

Have we got any way of making that a possibility? Cos I would watch the shit outta that!

JeffKurr13 karma

It's kind of my pet project… don't tell anyone!

bardel6 karma

What is your favorite color?

JeffKurr13 karma

blue of course

neesay166 karma

  • What is different about shark week this year?

  • What are some new discoveries about sharks?

JeffKurr14 karma

This year Shark Week is bigger and better than ever! I produced two of the programs, but there's 13 new one hour shows with incredible new footage and amazing shark stories… I know one of our shows this year discovers secrets about great white shark mating grounds… the incredible hunting style of great hammerheads is featured… me and my colleague Andy Brandy Casagrande discovered a population of giant male great white sharks in New Zealand… Awesome stuff!

archangelselect4 karma

Will there be a Shark Week/Sharknado 3 crossover in the future?

JeffKurr8 karma

Great question! LOL doubt it!

Cuttycorn4 karma

How do you feel about Comedy Central's recent use of "shart week"?

JeffKurr6 karma

I haven't seen it, but I like Tosh.o a lot!! hilarious

JeffKurr4 karma

Well guys, it was great talking with you… I'm off to FinFest in Hermosa Beach.. It was awesome yesterday! Be sure and watch AIR JAWS: FIN OF FURY kicking off Shark Week tonight at 8p/7p central on Discovery… Aloha!

justinclair3 karma

How do you plan on keeping Shark Week relevant? I mean, ever since Air Jaws it's kinda plateaued.

JeffKurr5 karma

Well, as the popularity of sharks and Shark Week continues to grow, it seems like it VERY relevant… When I made the Air Jaws film back in 2001, it was big, but now Shark Week has become immensely popular and shows no signs of slowing down.

Ibraaah3 karma

What's your favourite thing about a shark's nature?

JeffKurr8 karma

The fact that they are very curious and always seem to be trying to figure out what I'm doing in their world

ddm00793 karma

Most people who have been attacked by a shark that are interviewed on "Shark Week" say they forgive the shark. Is this normal or do they ask them to say something along those lines?

JeffKurr11 karma

I find that shark attack victims, almost universally forgive that shark after a certain amount of time anyway… I'm sure they go through a range of emotions, but ultimately understand sharks do not attack with malice.

Copywrites3 karma

With the recentish popularity that Shark Week has taken on, how does it feel knowing that you and your work has probably inspired a lot of kids to learn more about Sharks?

JeffKurr8 karma

knowing that Shark Week has and is inspiring kids to become marine biologists and filmmakers is the most rewarding part of the job! pre JAWS, people didn't care about sharks at all, after JAWS people were scared of sharks, so these new generations are growing up loving sharks-

theartichoke12 karma

Hi Mr. Kurr! I love sharks, and Shark Week was the way that my interest grew. My favorite is the ever majestic Great White, how about yours?

JeffKurr4 karma

I'm really happy to hear that you were inspired by Shark Week… I know a lot of marine biologists and shark advocates feel the same way… Definitely love the great white, but all sharks are pretty cool!

HowTheyGetcha2 karma

What's the real deal on how to fend off a shark attack?

JeffKurr7 karma

1 best way is to stay on land… #2 if you encounter a shark in the water, it's probably going to stay far away from you unless you happen to be carrying a fresh tuna. But, in the unlikely event that you see a shark in the water with you, the good news is, it probably won't attack. It's always the shark "you don't see" that you have to worry about… Anyway, if I'm in the water with sharks and they do happen to come a little too close (which is never) I like to let them know I see them… That way they lose the element of surprise and quickly lose interest in you… You can let a shark know you see it by facing it, holding your ground and maybe making an aggressive move toward it.

SufferingSaxifrage3 karma

What's an aggressive move? How do I know my punching motion doesn't send the same signal as a flailing tuna?

JeffKurr4 karma

Sharks respond to body language, so I just turn toward them quickly, maybe push my camera toward them… It's always nice to have something in your hand

mad_snake2 karma

Hey Jeff, have you heard about/what is your opinion on the shark baitlines and culling we have going on in Western Australia?

JeffKurr9 karma

This is a fear-based reaction and doesn't make sense scientifically… It should be stopped immediately!!! When you put out drum lines to catch sharks, you actually bring more sharks into the area...

Drunken_Lee_Sin2 karma

What, apart from the obvious, can I be looking forward to this year during Shark Week?

JeffKurr5 karma

Well, my shows are pretty darn cool if I say so myself… If you like giant flying great white sharks, tune in! But I understand that there's a wide variety of programming this year, so something for everyone.

beardedlemon2 karma

I live in South Carolina and there are supposedly a lot of megaladon teeth in brackish areas such as the Edisto River. I like to look for teeth and am just wondering, would a trip to one of these places be worth it? Thanks!

JeffKurr7 karma

I have a friend that did that… There is no visibility in that river, so if you don't mind diving "blind" it's cool! He got some great teeth

beardedlemon2 karma

Did he say how deep the spots he looked in were? Ive done some bass fishing in the freshwater parts and it seemed to be 3 feet or so. Also thanks for the initial response!

JeffKurr4 karma

I think it was around 20 feet deep… but my buddy is a great free diver so he was able to hang down there for about 5 minutes digging in the sand.

scubafire42 karma

have you even been attacked by a shark?

JeffKurr1 karma


ciphilly2 karma

What's the number on thing regular joes like me can do to help shark conservation? Shark fun soup is not really an issue near me. Is there something more practical (other than teaching my kids how damn cool sharks are)?

JeffKurr3 karma

I think teaching your children about sharks is the best thing you can do…

imba82 karma

Just how bad is shark finning, what can we do to stop it?

JeffKurr6 karma

It's pretty bad, but the situation is improving… Finning is now illegal in about 80 countries and here in the USA you can't even serve shark fin soup in several states… An 8 year old boy (and Shark Week fan) help get legislation passed in Mass. So, shark AWARENESS is working!