'Mermaids New Evidence' Animal Planet Hoax? Fake Documentary Sparks Twitter Debate & Breaks Record Ratings (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
on May 30, 2013 11:28 AM EDT
Animal Planet's latest mockumentary, Mermaids: The New Evidence, raised so many questions over the existence of the mythical creatures that a statement had to be released saying that "no evidence" of these creatures has ever been found.
Animal Planet played a re-broadcast of Mermaids: New Evidence on May 26. An actor played biologist Dr. Paul Robertspon in the new "mockumentary" which is a follow-up to last year's Mermaids: The Body Found. He claimed in the new faux documentary that he and his staff have found "new evidence" to support the claims that mermaids exist in the Greenland Seas. The television special fooled more viewers than the first.
The special cleverly touted they had an "exclusive interview" with Dr. Robertson and said a spin-off website was created for viewers. However, due to a government coverup, it is no longer available because the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security had taken it down.
The "documentary" ended up being the network's most-watched program in its history with a record-breaking 3.6 million viewers, according to Entertainment Weekly.
So many viewers believed that it was real that a statement was released to debunk the claims that mermaids exist. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website reads: "No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found."
Charlie Foley is the creator, writer and executive producer of Mermaids: New Evidence. He also serves as senior vice president of development for Animal Planet. Foley told the Mother Nature Network that he wanted people to think it was real, which is why the special was made to look like a documentary.
He wanted the story to "appeal to a sense of genuine possibility" so he incorporated "real science and evolutionary theory and real-world scientific examples."
"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 explained. "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."
Watch the trailer for Animal Planet's Mermaids: The New Evidence here.
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