Discovery Channel's hit reality series, "Deadliest Catch," continues to resonate with audiences.

After a contentious off-season, which included the tragic death of a crew member, the show returned April 12 for its seventh season and a ratings score of more than 4.3 million viewers. That was enough to push Discovery to the top of the cable ratings — most notably in the advertiser-valued men and women 18-49 and women 25-54 groups.

The seventh season picked up where last year's finale ended, with a sad goodbye to Captain Phil Harris of the crab boat Cornelia Marie.

"The first four minutes of the first episode, if you watch that and your eyes are still dry, you don’t have a heart," the show's creator, Thom Beers, told the Wall Street Journal. "It is singularly one of the most epic pieces of filmmaking I have ever been involved in my entire career. They send Phil’s ashes to the sea. But they do it in such an amazingly visual way. All seven boats go to sea and helicopters and fireworks and guns. It’s just completely wow."

As expected, Discovery Channel announced this week that "Deadliest Catch" will be returning for an eighth season in 2012. You can catch an all-new episode on April 19 at 9 p.m. EST.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.