‘Mermaids: The New Evidence,’ Animal Planet Documentary Hoax, Breaks Network Records
Mermaids: The New Evidence is the follow up “documentary” to Animal Planet’s Mermaids: The Body Found that aired on the network last year. The mermaid sequel proved to be a smart move for the network, as it became Animal Planet’s most-watched telecast of all time.
The Sunday 10/9c airing delivered 3.6 million viewers, and earned the network the top spot in the 25-54 age bracket. The previous record holder at the network was 2005’s Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real, which brought in 2.8 million viewers – nearly a million less that Mermaids: The New Evidence.
"The phenomenon of MERMAIDS has truly been a watershed - and a water cooler — moment for Animal Planet," said Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet. "These extraordinary television specials have electrified, challenged and entertained television audiences and online fans alike."
What many of the show’s enthused viewers, who made Mermaids: The New Evidence a trending topic on Twitter earlier in the week, may not be fully aware of is that the documentary isn’t exactly a documentary at all. Describing Mermaids: The Body Found last year, Discovery said, "What if there's a kernel of truth behind the legend of this mythic creature? Is the idea of mermaids really so far-fetched? Maybe so, maybe not. The show itself, though science fiction, is based on some real events and scientific theory."
For those that need more proof that the allegations of real life mermiads are false, look no further than The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website, which states, “No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.”
Charlie Foley, the creator, writer and executive producer of Mermaids, just wanted to capture people’s imaginations with his pseudo-documentary approach to the popular marine life myth. “Using a straight, documentarian approach made the story more persuasive by appealing more to a sense of intellectual possibility as well as emotional possibility,” he told Mother Nature Network.
“I think the story works because it's possible to believe that mermaids might have an evolutionary basis; I think it works because you can believe they are real,” he continued. “And personally, I don't think there's any story more appealing than a legend that can be believed.”
With the Animal Planet’s ratings reports, it seems as though Foley certainly has the right idea.
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