Mermaid hoax show gets Animal Planet highest ratings

May 31, 2013 (NEW YORK)

The show "Mermaids: The New Evidence" aired over the weekend, and is a sequel to last year's "Mermaids: The Body Found." It includes an interview with a man described as a former scientist with The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

"Myself included, all of us believe this a new species," he said in the show. He was really an actor, NOAA said through a statement.

The issue: the only place in the show where it's an acknowledged mermaid mockumentary is in the closing credits. A disclaimer: Though certain events in this film are fictional, Navy sonar tests have been directly implicated in whale beachings."

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

The network says 3.6 million watched.

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