Why Discovery's Shark House Gets 'A Little Gory' With Great Whites And Orcas, According To Shark Week EP Jeff Kurr

Shark Week 2022 logo screenshot
(Image credit: Discovery)

Shark Week 2022 is going strong, with everything from the latest edition of Air Jaws going full Top Gun in South Africa to the Impractical Jokers team risking life and limb underwater. An upcoming special won’t be luring the sharks up to breach the surface or taking a quick dip. Shark House sends one man below with a mission to live on the ocean floor after things get “a little gory” with great whites and orcas. Shark Week executive producer Jeff Kurr opened up to CinemaBlend about how Shark House made it happen. 

Dickie Chivell, a Shark Week familiar face who has already appeared in Jeff Kurr’s Air Jaws this year, is at the center of the action after he “decides to live on the bottom of the ocean in a shark house,” filmed in South Africa. Chivell isn’t just heading down into the deep for the novelty of living with sharks, however, but because time may be running out with the species in his area. The executive producer explained: 

The purpose of that is he's looking for some of the last remaining great whites in his area in South Africa. As I've said, the great whites have been decimated by orcas. What's really amazing about this film Shark House is we were actually able to capture orcas killing a great white on a drone, and it is some of the most spectacular natural history footage I think that's ever been shot, to see how these orcas actually do it, how they gang up on the shark, and pull its liver out. It's a little gory, but it's amazing natural history, and no one [had] actually confirmed how the orcas were killing the great whites.

Jeff Kurr previously explained that “great whites have been under siege in South Africa for about the last six or seven years” because of orcas “ripping them open and eating their livers,” and shared why the Air Jaws team was in fact extremely lucky to find their breaching great whites before the orcas arrived. Although that special this year didn’t show any orca footage, Shark House will tell the story of what the killer whales have been doing to the sharks. 

Viewers should prepare for a little bit of goriness with Shark House, but what’s Shark Week without a little bit of gore in service of natural history footage? Jeff Kurr continued:

But now we have the footage as a part of this film, and that's what inspired Dickie to build the shark house and live on the bottom of the ocean. He wanted to see if he could actually find the surviving great whites after this orca onslaught. Without giving the end away, it's an amazing ending. He has an unbelievable encounter, and thankfully a happy ending. But a lot of things in Shark House – people have never seen before, and it's just gonna blow people away.

Dickie Chivell’s Shark House mission is to live on the ocean floor for seven days, which certainly sounds like an ambitious goal. Viewers who watched Air Jaws: Top Guns just a few days ago saw that it was much more of a struggle to find big sharks to bring to the surface than in the earlier days of Shark Week. Luckily, Jeff Kurr’s preview reveals that viewers can look forward to a “happy ending” with an encounter for Chivell. 

Shark House airs on Thursday, July 28 at 9 p.m. ET on Discovery. It will be a big night of action all around, with Tracy Morgan Presents: Sharks! with Tracy Morgan at 8 p.m., which will team the 30 Rock alum with experts to identify some especially crazy and ferocious sharks. Monster Mako Under the Rig releases at 10 p.m. to follow a mysterious group of maverick makos, and Tiger Queen is at 11 p.m. to explore the concentration of female tiger sharks in one place as well as the question of where the males are. 

Shark Week 2022 has been a big year for great white specials, in addition to Shark House and Air Jaws. The very first night told a story about a dangerous encounter with a great white in a new format, and a special about a “serial killer” kind of great white managed to solve a tragic mystery with innovative technology. Of course, Shark Week can only last for so long before wrapping for the year, so take a look at our 2022 TV premiere schedule for what’s on the way to TV after the week-long Discovery event.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).