Mermaids: The Body Found

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Directed bySid Bennett
Director of Animation - Steve Gomez
Written byCharlie Foley
Vaibhav Bhatt
Story byCharlie Foley
Vaibhav Bhatt
Produced byDarlow Smithson, Tom Brisley
Distributed byDiscovery Communications
Animal Planet
Running time
90 minutes

Mermaids: The Body Found is a Mockumentary television program styled as a documentary[1] originally aired on American TV channels Animal Planet (May 27, 2012) and Discovery Channel (June 17, 2012). It tells a story of a scientific team's investigative efforts to uncover the source behind mysterious underwater recordings of an unidentified marine body. The show presents the controversial aquatic ape hypothesis as evidence that mermaids exist, along with a digitally manufactured video. A sequel broadcast called Mermaids: The New Evidence aired May 26, 2013.

Mermaids: The Body Found and its sequel Mermaids: The New Evidence is an example of what is known as docufiction, in which documentary style and programming elements are combined with fictional - or sometimes, less egregiously, speculative - science and fiction.[2][3] This type of programming receives particular criticism when, as in the original broadcast of Mermaids: The Body Found, there are only a few, easily missed disclaimers to indicate the speculative nature of the programming. On the contrary, the serious tone of the majority of the presentation implied that it was a factual documentary.[4][5] The first airings of the two Mermaids programs apparently gathered the attention of millions of people and also drew some of Animal Planet's largest audiences ever.[6][7]


Mermaids: The Body Found received 1.9 million views during its US telecast premiere on Sunday, May 27, 2012. This is the network's most watched telecast since the Steve Irwin memorial special in September 2006.[8]


Mermaids Animal Planet has been criticized for giving the impression of being an actual documentary, when in fact much of the material was made up, and the scientists shown were actors.[9] Publicity for the program included a website falsely claiming government seizure of the site's domain, and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration put up a rebuttal to the program.[10]


  1. ^ "Mermaids: The Body Found (press release)". Animal Planet Media. Retrieved 4 July 2012. This two-hour special is science fiction based on some real events and scientific theory.
  2. ^ "Mermaid Body Found? No, Bad TV".
  3. ^ "Were you fooled by Animal Planet's mermaid special?". NBC News - The Today Show.
  4. ^ Davidson, Jacob (August 7, 2013). "Discovery Channel Provokes Outrage with Fake Shark Week Documentary; The popular network has found great success in airing shows that mislead and misinform". Time Magazine.
  5. ^ Switek, Brian (May 31, 2013). "Mermaids Embodies the Rotting Carcass of Science TV". Wired.
  6. ^ Hibberd, James (May 28, 2013). "Mermaid hoax drowns Animal Planet's ratings record". Entertainment Weekly.
  7. ^ Didymus, JohnThomas (May 31, 2013). "Animal Planet's Mermaid documentary hoax fools millions yet again". Digital Journal.
  8. ^ "Animal Planet Slays With Best-Ever May in Network History". Animal Planet Press Release. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  9. ^ Jim Vorel (July 17, 2012). "Mermaid body found? No, bad TV". Quad-City Times.
  10. ^ "Mermaids: The Body Found". May 28, 2013.

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