NEW YORK — Comic Josh Wolf may not want to hear the word "shark" after next week, much less bump into one.
Discovery has given him a unique assignment: host an hour-long talk show for five nights in a row on the menacing beast, a new wrinkle in the network's annual "Shark Week."
"Shark After Dark" will debut Sunday at 11 p.m. EDT.
Wolf, who's a recurring character on Fox's "Raising Hope" and perhaps best known as a regular guest on E! Entertainment's "Chelsea Lately," said he's looking forward to the challenge.
"Not only have I always been fascinated with 'Shark Week,' I've always wanted to do a late-night talk thing," he said. "That's been on the bucket list. This kills two birds with one stone."
So how do you fill an hour each night with chatter about a creature that does all its talking with its teeth?
Wolf will open each night with a shark monologue. He'll talk about the "Shark Week" programs that Discovery aired that night and bring in some shark experts and celebrities. One booked guest is actress Tara Reid, who starred in the Syfy network's "Sharknado" movie earlier this summer. Others are Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and actor Dominic Monaghan.
There are limits, though.
"You can't do an hour of shark jokes," Wolf said. "Trust me."
So he expects "Shark After Dark" will be more expansive than the title. Craig Ferguson is the show's executive producer, and Wolf said the late-night host's interviewing style is an inspiration. "He lets the conversation go where it goes," he said. "That's what I hope to do, too."
"It's shameful that the shark demographic has been neglected for so long by late-night TV," Ferguson said. "I'm delighted to be making a show that combines comedy, witty chat and ferocious biting predators."
"Shark After Dark" is part of Discovery's effort to promote "Shark Week" as a pop culture event, said Michael Sorensen, the network's senior director of programming. Discovery can only hope for ratings success that mirrors its promotion; its cheeky ad about a giant shark ruining the return of "Snuffy the seal" to the ocean has received more than 5 million streams online.
The idea behind "Shark After Dark" is that "'Shark Week' is a party and people just want to be invited, (so) let's continue the experience into a talk show," Sorensen said.