'River Monsters' Was Very Popular on Animal Planet — Why Did It End?

"Ten years ago, I had a list in my head, which seemed impossibly ambitious at the time. Everything has been ticked off."

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Apr. 29 2024, Published 10:31 p.m. ET

Perhaps there is no greater work of art about obsession, than Herman Melville's Moby Dick. While there are plenty of interpretations of this 19th century novel, the literal explanation is just as stunning. Who among us hasn't been singularly focused on one act, goal, person, or mistake? Just ask Glenn Close's character in Fatal Attraction where unrelenting obsession can get you. For her, it ended in death. Captain Ahab met the same fate. Both died in pursuit of a thing they could never fully have.

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When a passion remains well below the tormented line, we are left with the ability to learn from another person's interest. They are generally eager to show the rest of the world something they are fascinated by. Biologist and adventurer Jeremy Wade is one such person. His joy for the creatures of the occasionally deep led him to host Animal Planet's show River Monsters for nine seasons. Why did it end? Perhaps Ahab finally met his match.

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Why did 'River Monsters' end? Perhaps we were the monsters all along.

With a last name like Wade, it's hard to imagine British-born Jeremy doing anything that didn't involve water. According to Television Business International, he "read zoology at University and taught biology at a public school before taking off to fish the world's wildest rivers." Jeremy is a professional angler whose angle is a respect for the wildlife he traverses and in particular, the creatures that inhabit it. That came across clearly during his time as host of River Monsters.

Sadly, the show said goodbye in 2017 at the end of Season 9. Fans were devastated when they learned the news but the reason why is almost poetic in a way. There's truly no better reason to end a show about a man searching far and wide for the strange and unusual. Animal Planet drained River Monsters because to put it simply, they ran out of monsters.

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In a press release, Jeremy said, "Some shows can run forever, but our subject matter is finite," via Inquirer.net. It's true. Jeremy was simply too good at his job. "Ten years ago, I had a list in my head, which seemed impossibly ambitious at the time," explained Jeremy after the end of the show was announced. "Everything has been ticked off." What a bittersweet feeling it must be to complete the goal.

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Where is Jeremy Wade now?

Jeremy couldn't stay away from what he loved best, exploring, which is why he returned to television with new specials and shows. From Mighty Rivers to Dark Waters as well as Mysteries of the Deep, Jeremy continued to go where few men have gone before. Star Trek may have popularized the idea that space is the final frontier, but the real secrets are right in our own backyards.

Conservation is also something Jeremy cares deeply about. While chatting with Shoal, he went into detail about the importance of preserving bodies of freshwater. He attributes the lack of interest from other environmentalists to the fact that the animals found in freshwater are less attractive. Don't tell them that!

"It’s true that a lot of freshwater fish aren’t all that exciting visually, but in fact there are some incredible looking fish out there in rivers and lakes, even if we don’t often get to see them," Jeremy said. They say still waters run deep, and Jeremy can attest to that.

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