Elaborate mermaid hoax fools millions

Posted at 7:41 AM, May 31, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-31 07:45:34-04

(WTVR) - Were you fooled by a televised mermaid hoax? 'Mermaids: The New Evidence' aired Sunday, reeling in Animal Planet the biggest audience it has seen in 17 years.

The 'documentary' was advertised as a follow-up to last year's 'Mermaids: The Body Found', with what appeared to be brand new footage of the mythical creatures, however, what viewers got was an elaborate hoax.

Millions tuning in seemed to have missed the blink-of-an-eye disclaimer at the end which described the program as 'science fiction' based on 'scientific theory.'

The special 'documentary' showed video of a supposed mermaid sighting and featured an exclusive interview with a man they claimed was a former scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

But the 'scientist' was actually an actor and the 'mermaid' in the footage, a fake.

NOAA went so far as to release a statement on its website saying: 'Mermaids: The New Evidence is just entertainment. No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.'

The show's executive producer Charlie Foley said they wanted people to think it was real and made it into a documentary-style program.

It's likely not the last time we'll see a show of its kind, due to its popularity with viewers the network is thinking of making another mermaid-based show.