Animal Planet's 'Mermaids' Special Swims To Network Viewership Record

Animal Planet netted a record audience Sunday for its special Mermaids: The New Evidence.

The May 26 special averaged 3.6 million viewers, topping the 2.8 million viewers garnered by a 2005 special Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real, according to network officials. Mermaids: The New Evidence -- which launched Animal Planet's Monster Week 2013 programming stunt -- was a sequel to the 2012 special Mermaids: The Body Found, which drew 1.9 million viewers, according to the network.

Online, the special generating more than 1.5 million streams of Mermaids-related video since Sunday evening, triple the volume seen with the original special.

"The phenomenon of Mermaids has truly been a watershed - and a watercooler - moment for Animal Planet," said Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet in a statement. "These extraordinary television specials have electrified, challenged & entertained television audiences and online fans alike."

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.