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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."