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Posted at 10:42 PM ET, 08/02/2012

TV critics suspicious about Animal Planet’s ‘Finding Bigfoot’

TV critics seemed a bit put out to be reminded that Animal Planet has a series on its lineup called “Finding Bigfoot.”

The show got a Q&A session at Summer Press Tour because it’s not only returning with 11 episodes and two specials but is also expanding its search for Bigfoot to Australia and Indonesia.

And for the first time, Animal Planet will produce two Bigfoot “aftershows.” Kind of like what Andy Cohen used to do with his housewives on Bravo. Only in this case, Animal Planet’s bigfootologists will be taking “burning questions from fans” and diving “deeper into the evidence and theories.”

When they actually do find Bigfoot, one TV critic wondered, what contractual arrangement does Animal Planet have with the producers to slap that episode on the air out of order.

Animal Planet General Manager Marjorie Kaplan admitted that she had no such contractual arrangement — “but I will tell you when they find Bigfoot, you will know quickly.”

Another critic wondered whether Animal Planet “had run out of real animals” to profile.

Kaplan said the network has been reinvented and now is all about exploring the “rich planet” on which we live.

Yet another TV critic wondered whether this was a sequel to Animal Planet’s documentary “Mermaid — the Body Found.”

The fact that the mermaid “docudrama” did so well ratings-wise “is evidence our audience loved it,” Kaplan said, adding that there are “new species being discovered all the time.”

“Do you want to stick with ‘docudrama’ on that?” the critic asked.

Someone asked Kaplan whether she thought Discovery Communications — the parent company of Animal Planet — was damaging the brand by putting on “fake documentaries” about mermaids and Bigfoot.

“I don’t think so, or I wouldn’t put it on,” she said.

“The audience voted with their remotes,” she said, returning to that Sucker Born Every Minute theme.

“You can’t equate Bigfoot with mermaids,” scoffed Bigfoot researcher James “Bobo” Fay. “You’re ignorant of the subject matter.”

By  |  10:42 PM ET, 08/02/2012

 
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