This week is Shark Week on the Discovery Channel and many viewers are upset about the fake documentary that was shown about the ancient giant shark Megalodon, called "Megalodon: The Monster Shark That Lives".
The documentary is a two-hour special discussing the possible return of a giant prehistoric shark thought to have been extinct for over two million years. Megalodon was believed to be three times the length of the great white shark, and ten times the mass.
The Discovery Channel released a statement from Shark Week's Executive Producer, Michael Sorensen, to the Orlando Sentinel and several other media sources:
With a whole week of Shark Week programming ahead of us, we wanted to explore the possibilities of Megalodon. It's one of the most debated shark discussions of all time, can Megalodon exist today? It's Ultimate Shark Week fantasy. The stories have been out there for years and with 95% of the ocean unexplored, who really knows?
Even though viewers are furious that the "the world's #1 nonfiction media company", would air a documentary with false information, "Megalodon: The Monster Shark That Lives" had 4.8 million viewers and a 2.6 rating with adults 25-54, and has been named the biggest Shark Week episode to date.
— Dianne Kamfonik (@Dianne_Kamfonik) August 5, 2013
Celebrity Will Wheaton said: "I care about education. I care about science. I care about inspiring people to learn about the world and universe around us. Sharks are fascinating, and megalodon was an absolutely incredible creature! Discovery had a chance to get its audience thinking about what the oceans were like when megalodon roamed and hunted in them. It had a chance to even show what could possibly happen if there were something that large and predatory in the ocean today ... but Discovery Channel did not do that. In a cynical ploy for ratings, the network deliberately lied to its audience and presented fiction as fact. Discovery Channel betrayed its audience."
— Aaron Hill (@IamAaronHill) August 5, 2013
There was a short disclaimer at the end of the episode that said: None of the institutions or agencies that appear in the film are affiliated with it in any way, nor have approved its contents. Though certain events and characters in this film have been dramatized, sightings of “Submarine” continue to this day. Megalodon was a real shark. Legends of giant sharks persist all over the world. There is still a debate about what they may be.