Mermaid Hoax, Mermaids: The New Evidence Special, Sets Ratings Record for Animal Planet

Mermaids: The New Evidence set record ratings for Animal Planet on May 26. Animal Planet

What's the new evidence about mermaids? People can't get enough of them — even if it's a hoax! Animal Planet premiered their special Mermaids: The New Evidence on Sunday, May 26, and the staged documentary set a ratings record for the network.

Animal Planet managed to hook 3.6 million viewers with the special that speculates about the real-life existence of mermaids using actors, according to ABC News. The special is a sequel to 2012's "documentary," Mermaids: The Body Found.

"We wanted people to approach the story with a sense of possibility and a sense of wonder," Charlie Foley, the show's executive producer, told ABC News. "Hopefully that's what 'Mermaids' allowed viewers to do . . . allowed them to suspend their disbelief."

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After the first special aired, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration released a statement to clear up confusion for perplexed viewers over whether mermaids were real. 

"The belief in mermaids may have arisen at the very dawn of our species," the statement read. "But are mermaids real? No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found. Why, then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring peoples? That's a question best left to historians, philosophers, and anthropologists."

At the end of Mermaids: The New Evidence, a disclaimer read, "Though certain events in this film are fictional, Navy sonar tests have been directly implicated in whale beachings."

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