Whale Wars renewed; is Animal Planet’s 2nd-most popular show; Earthrace ship joining campaign

Animal Planet’s Whale Wars has been renewed for a third season, having reached a series high in the ratings for its awesome Friday night finale, which proved it’s one of the best series on TV today, reality or scripted.

Overall, 1.3 million viewers watched the show, which was its “most-watched episode ever,” according to an Animal Planet press release, which notes that season two “set new landmarks and is now Animal Planet’s second-best performing series in network history, averaging 779K households and more than a million P2+ viewers (1.08M) across its second season.” It’s also grown, adding 14 percent more viewers than last season, in addition to growing specific demographics, such as 18 percent more viewers 24 to 54.

The release also noted that the show “would return for a third season next year, following the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s next Antarctic whale defense campaign called Operation Waltzing Matilda” and the show is “anticipated to return as a lynchpin for the channel’s 2010 summer.”

That campaign will feature a new weapon for the Sea Shepherd crew: Earthrace, a biodiesel-powered speedboat that “looks like a spaceship. It can do 40 knots and dive under waves completely. We’ll be using it to intercept and block harpoons,” Paul Watson told the Brisbane Times.

The boat’s owner, Pete Bethune, told the paper he was joining with Sea Shepherd because “this is happening in my backyard and it really pisses me off. I’m going to make a stand.”

The Steve Irwin will also look different: it got “a $500,000 refit,” the paper reports. “Its buckled hull plates had been repaired, and it was fitted with a powerful water cannon on the bow to match the whalers’.”

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