Discovery Communications has promoted the guy behind Animal Planet’s controversial mermaid documentaries to oversee a newly created Original Content Group for the whole company of networks. As EVP, Charlie Foley will create, write and exec produce scripted content and nonfiction series and formats for all Discovery networks in this country and internationally. He will report to Marjorie Kaplan, group president and General Manager of Animal Planet, Science Channel, and Velocity.   Foley’s the guy behind Animal Planet’s highest-rated program ever: Mermaids: The New Evidence, which averaged 3.7 million viewers in its premiere. That was a sequel to the network’s Mermaids: The Body Found, which was no slouch either in the ratings department, averaging 3.6 million viewers in its premiere. The first mermaid “documentary” resulted in so many inquiries to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that the department decided to post something on its websites stating: “No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.” Foley, who started his career at National Geographic, also created and wrote Animal Planet’s previous ratings record-holder Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real. He’s also the guy behind that networks’ River Monsters, Whale Warriors, etc.

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