Animal Planet is on a roll. 

The Discovery-owned network is posting some big numbers in growth thanks to some original television programming that's been attracting one huge demographic: Men 25-54. 

The third season of "River Monsters", the best performing series in network history, recently wrapped on Monday with ratings that helped push AP to third among all ad-supported cable networks in its timeslot. It was immediately followed by a special preview of the new series "Finding Bigfoot", which nabbed 1.3M viewers. 

Back in February, I mentioned that AP was filming a new series based on the legendary ape - and it appears that their timing in terms of national interest was spot on. Whether by coincidence (or some clever viral marketing?) a purported video of Bigfoot was placed online last week, recorded with an iPhone by some hikers in Spokane, Washington. 

In a little over a week, it's already racked up over 1.5M views on YouTube and countless media articles. The full six-part "Finding Bigfoot" series is set to premiere this Sunday - but the network by apparent sheer luck was genius in running a preview this past Monday. You can't plan better publicity than an actual sighting - which may be all the more reason in today's hyper-media-connected world to be cynical of a connection. 

Either way, while "River Monsters" is exiting stage left, Season Four of "Whale Wars" is set to bow tomorrow evening (9PM/ET) - ensuring that the ratings wave will continue. Last year's Season Three exceeded Season Two levels by double-digits among all key demos. 


Check out a trailer for the new season of "Whale Wars" below! 

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Animal Planet riding ratings wave ahead of 'Whale Wars' premiere
"River Monsters, "Finding Bigfoot" score in key demographics as network continues to reel in the eyeballs.