Mermaid hoax makes a splash for Animal Planet

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   May 30, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Animal Planet played a huge joke on its viewers, and it paid off in spades.

The creatures and critters channel aired "Mermaids: The New Evidence," a mockumentary, last Sunday and grabbed a network record 3.6 million viewers.

"Mermaids: The New Evidence" is a follow up to last year's "Mermaids: The Body Found," complete with scientists (played by actors, of course) and a related website that says it has been "seized" by the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice.

The only dead giveaway, other than, of course, that mermaids really don't exist, was a disclaimer in the closing credits.

(The previous record for most viewers at Animal Planet belonged to another fantasy creature: "Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real.)

But if Twitter traffic is to be believed, Animal Planet's joke nabbed more than a few new believers.

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