Fake sharks seem to be more of a draw than real ones. Discovery kicked off its Shark Week festivities on Sunday to record ratings, though the big haul was brought in by a complete spoof.
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Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives now ranks as the biggest Shark Week episode to date, fetching 4.8 million viewers and a 2.6 rating with adults 25-54. The Monster Shark, however, does not live. It died out approximately 1.5 million years ago. And viewers tuning in to see evidence of its survival caught some faux found footage and fake interviews -- a la Animal Planet's recent ratings success, Mermaids: The Body Found and sequel Mermaids: The New Evidence.
The special came to Discovery from Craig Piligian's Pilgrim Studios, producers of former Discovery flagship Dirty Jobs.
It wasn't all fabricated fins on Sunday night. The launch of talker Shark After Dark earned a 1.2 rating with adults 25-54 and 2.1 million viewers. Comedian Josh Wolf, the face of this year's Shark Week festivities, brought a 62 percent demo bump compared to last year's late-night Shark Week offerings.
Web traffic has also seen a spike thanks to Shark Week. Discovery reports that SharkWeek.com logged 6.3 million page views in the last three weeks, 1.5 million of them coming in on Sunday alone.
Shark Week continues all week.