Skip to Content

Animal Planet’s faux documentary on mermaids still fooling people

Over Memorial Day weekend, Animal Planet aired Mermaids: The Body Found, a clever if obviously fake documentary about mermaids.

There was even an accompanying marketing campaign with shocking video and fake evidence of a government cover-up.

The Discovery Channel re-aired the documentary Sunday, and the presumably wider audience prompted everything from an increase in Google searches to an Us Weekly article.

As an Examiner article noted, the subsequent flood of comments on Discovery’s site included grammatically challenged posts by everyone from angry purists to conspiracy theorists.

The film was written and produced by Animal Planet senior vice president of development Charlie Foley, who is actually the same person responsible for creating Whale Wars, which is, of course, on the opposite end of the spectrum of reality.

(Interestingly, when he was approached to return to the network, he agreed to take the job only if its new president, Marjorie Kaplan, would let him develop Whale Wars. The full story of the show’s creation is in my Playboy article.)

In an interview with the New York Post, Foley said the mermaid special “is certainly using real science to inform, to ground the story and as a springboard into imagination.”

If there’s any doubt about its veracity, the NOAA even released a statement insisting, “No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.”

All reality blurred content is independently selected, including links to products or services. However, if you buy something after clicking an affiliate link, I may earn a commission, which helps support reality blurred. Learn more.

More great stories

About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


I value our community at reality blurred, which connects people through open and thoughtful conversations about the TV we’re watching and the stories about it.

Comment rules: My goal is for us to be able to share our perspectives and exchange ideas in a welcoming, supportive space. That’s why I’ve created these rules for commenting here. By commenting below, you confirm that you’ve read and agree to them.

Happy discussing!