It reveals programming stunt at TCA

Animal Planet is developing its own version of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week with a programming stunt dubbed Monster Week to be unveiled at the Television Critics Assn. press tour today.

Programs to be featured include a special “Croc-Zilla,” new segs of “Finding Bigfoot,” the season finale of “River Monsters” and a two-hour CGI-enhanced special called “Mermaids: The Body Found” at the end of the eight-day event.

Monster Week is set for the second quarter: a firm date has yet to be set since it’s not clear when the season finale of “River Monsters,” the week’s biggest peg, will air. Hosting the programming will be Jeremy Wade, the British “extreme angler” who hooks Satanic-looking freshwater critters on the globetrotting “River Monsters” and shows them off for the viewers’ benefit.

Animal Planet has extended its reach to theoretical animals in the recent past with “Finding Bigfoot,” so the “Mermaids” special is in good company. The Discovery Communications cabler says the special includes first-hand accounts from a team of scientists who claim to have found a sea creature related to human beings.

Aside from “Finding Bigfoot” and “River Monsters,” other series rolling out new episodes during Monster Week are “Call of the Wildman” and “Gator Boys.” Animal Planet will also air reruns of “River Monsters” with new footage.

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