Shark Week Drops 'Megalodon' Mockumentary After Controversy, Angering Fans
On Sunday, the Discovery Channel's annual Shark Week kicked off — only this year, no controversial mockumentaries on the megalodon shark will be getting any air time.
Last year, Discovery Channel's new president Rich Ross had announced the removal of such dramatized programming, saying it wasn't "right" for the network. Instead, the channel was planning on leaning toward more real research.
In 2013, Discovery Channel debuted Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives, which was a fictional film about scientists researching the possible existence of the prehistoric and massive sea creature. The following year, Discovery Channel aired a sequel, Megalodon: The New Evidence. The fake documentaries were first introduced to the network as relief to the usually serious science material on the channel.
The mockumentary did begin and close with disclaimers about its fictionality, but it was still met with wide criticism for being misleading, therefore discrediting the network's reputation. "It was presented in such a way that you could very easily watch it and not know it was fictional," shark expert David Shiffman said, according to NPR.
While some were upset when they found out that the documentary was entirely fictionalized, many others who found the mockumentaries entertaining are bummed that the fake hunt for the giant shark won't be broadcasted this year.
After all, Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives was Shark Week's highest-rated program.