Last year, Animal Planet aired the "docufiction" special "Mermaids: The Body Found" and grabbed the cable channel's strongest ratings since the death of Steve Irwin in 2006. So it's no surprise that last weekend, they returned to the ocean for "Mermaids: The New Evidence." What is surprising is that this follow-up special netted Animal Planet's largest audience ever.
About 3.6 million viewers tuned in to watch the special, which claimed to have never-before-seen footage taken of the mermaids in the Greenland Sea.
Both "Mermaids" specials were hoaxes, designed to look like real documentaries. But that didn't stop people tuning in en masse to witness a fake investigation into a mythical creature.
This is in stark contrast to Animal Planet's usual fare, which includes such reality based programming as "Meerkat Manor" and the "Puppy Bowl."