The Discovery network debuted a new show on Animal Planet called "Mermaids: The New Evidence," and it was the highest rated show on the network's channel ever.
The fascination with mermaids does not seem to be fading as the network revealed that 3.6 million viewers watched the 10 p.m. airing of the show over the weekend.
"The phenomenon of 'Mermaids' has truly been a watershed- and a watercooler- moment for Animal Planet," Animal Planet president and general manager Marjorie Kaplan said in a statement. "These extraordinary television specials have electrified, challenged & entertained television audiences and online fans alike."
While the show was structured with a narrative in a documentary-style format, it was largely fictional, with intersections of conjecture and fact. The show's producers are hoping to keep the viewers' imaginations open to the possibility that these mythical creatures might exist.
"I wanted the story to appeal to a sense of genuine possibility, and incorporating real science and evolutionary theory and real-world scientific examples- such as animals that have made the transition from land to sea, much as we suggest mermaids did- and citing real, albeit controversial theories like the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis, grounded it," Charlie Foley, "Mermaids" creator, writer, and executive producer, told Mother Nature Network during an interview.
The inclusion of several controversial theories added to the validity of the possibility that mermaids could someday be found and documented.
"Using a straight, documentarian approach made the story more persuasive by appealing more to a sense of intellectual possibility as well as emotional possibility. 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. And personally, I don't think there's any story more appealing than a legend that can be believed," he added.