The wages of pseudoscience

I completely missed the disgraceful hokum the Animal Planet channel aired last week, Mermaids: The Body Found, a completely fictional pseudodocumentary dressed up as reality that claims mermaids exist. You can watch it now, though, until Animal Planet takes it down.

It's genuinely awful. Total nonsense, gussied up with more nonsense: would you believe it justifies the story with the Aquatic Ape gobbledygook? Brian Switek has torn into it, and of course Deep Sea News is disgusted. How could the channel have so disgraced themselves with such cheap fiction?

Here's the answer:

ANIMAL PLANET SLAYS WITH BEST-EVER MAY IN NETWORK HISTORY

-- Monster Week's MERMAIDS: THE BODY FOUND Made Mighty Splash with More Than 3.4 Million Viewers --

(May 30, 2012, Silver Spring, Md.) - Animal Planet devoured the month with its best May ever, earning its strongest performances in both prime and total delivery among all key demos, including prime deliveries of 681K P2+ (+7%), 508K HH (+7%), 330K P25-54 (+21%), 301K P18-49 (+12%) and 193K M25-54 (+30%), and total day deliveries of 456K P2+ (+13%), 355K HH (+10%), 215K P25-54 (+26%), 203K P18-49 (+13%) and 120K M25-54 (+32%).

Animal Planet's May victory was propelled its first-ever Monster Week (the week of May 21), featuring MERMAIDS: THE BODY FOUND, which made a huge splash at the "tail" end of the week. MERMAIDS: THE BODY FOUND delivered nearly 2 million viewers (1.96M P2+) for its premiere, making it the most-watched telecast since the Steve Irwin memorial special in September 2006. The two-hour premiere scored a 1.3 HH rating and helped rank Animal Planet #2 in the timeslot, including 960K P25-54 (0.9), 482K M25-54 (1.0) and 477K W25-54 (0.9). The subsequent late-night airing of MERMAIDS: THE BODY FOUND earned the title of Animal Planet's most-watched late-night telecast ever, delivering nearly 1.5M viewers (1.46M P2+), bringing the combined viewership to more than 3.4 million viewers. MERMAIDS: THE BODY FOUND encores Thursday, May 31, from 8-10 PM ET/PT.

Brace yourselves. More of this will be coming…unless more of us protest by turning off the Animal Planet channel altogether. They've just been rewarded for epic dishonesty with peak traffic; what lesson do you think they'll learn from this?

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It seems like Animal Planet has discovered what the History Channel discovered years ago. This kind of television sells unfortunately :(

Sad, so very sad. Not unsurprising though. Given how the religious shows "Codes cracked etcetera" are among the highest rated on Discovery and the reality show creep pushing actual science shows to the fringes of all these channels [Discovery, History et al].

Discovery is collapsing on itself with every month, we've gone from shows about space and critical analysis [or at least the TV interpretation of those] to shows about Mermaids and god telling people how to make guns for rednecks.

By Mr. Morrison (not verified) on 11 Jun 2012 #permalink

How dreadfully true, that if you can believe in a god, you can believe in anything. How fortunate that all the human species is not totally unbalanced.

awful compared to what? The secret Nazi ufo conspiracy on the science channel? The ufo crap on the history channel? There is something much stupider than a squatch in this programming.

I can't help but think the skeptic community is dropping the ball in allowing these so called educational channels to get away with this crap.

For what shall it profit a cable channel, if it shall gain ratings, and lose it's credibility?

A lot, apparently.

Animal Planet? You don't say. Seems like they pander a lot to the sociopaths that are obsessed with abuse and hoarding. Some of the worst sociopaths have been "animal lovers" just as much as they have been abusers.
That channel, like the others of its type, has long since jumped the shark. History and syfy are nothing like when they first came out, it's like the two just became the same thing. As much as animal planet may appeal to sociopaths history loves to pander to paranoid conspiracy nuts. Hey at least they aren't watching both at the same time.
I am glad I don't watch much TV. It's gotten a bit weird.

If it's possible for cable TV to be more troglodyte friendly, I'd have to go with idiot-oriented specials on the History Channel (like the 500 shows on Big Foot and the Virgin Mary's face on somebody's French toast. They give fairytales an air of historical fact. Sort of like lending credence to Creationism in a Biology textbook.

By Wally Hayman (not verified) on 13 Jun 2012 #permalink

Appalling! I'd ditch Animal Planet and that load of crap, Discovery Channel, if I could. Trouble is, where I, am they come buddled with other channels that don't generally deal in such nonsense and you have to take the bundle. Best I can do is protest by email.

By Robert Brown (not verified) on 19 Jun 2012 #permalink