The latest broadcast of “The Daily Show” had a very strange interruption. Trevor Noah was talking (well, actually crying), when suddenly images of a spinning ballerina appeared, rotating with some stock war footage and emblazoned with what looked like a Russian domain name. Having seen this, anyone watching it live immediately assumed the comedy show had been the victim of a hacking attack. However, according to Gizmodo this was anything but. It’s a little early to be an April Fools’, so it seems this was merely a publicity stunt, using the never-ending investigations into Russia’s alleged interference with the 2016 U.S.

presidential election to promote something new.

Gizmodo points out that the domain name thepresidentshow.ru used in the stunt leads to a Twitter page for “The President Show.” The bio on that page talks about the “number one show” on television with millions of viewers, reportedly hosted by one @LateNightDonald. The show allegedly brings American jobs back to late night. Gizmodo mentioned that there were three messages in Russian on the page, which translated roughly to a plea to make TV and late night great again. These appear to have been deleted and there is now a series of tweets talking about climate change, Viacom no longer moving jobs to Mexico, and the fact that late night television is broken and only @PresidentShow can fix it.

Hollywood Reporter notes that aside from the new @PresidentShow Twitter handle, there is a second handle for @LateNightDonald. That particular Twitter account has reportedly been tweeting in a “Trump-like” voice since March 21 and criticizing many shows on late night TV – and in particular other late-night hosts.

Another tweet criticized the fact that some shows aren't even hosted by Americans.

Viacom owns Comedy Central and the so-called Russian domain name

Gizmodo pointed out that when doing a “whois” to look up the owner of the domain name in question it immediately became clear that the domain was registered by Viacom, who own Comedy Central, on March 29.

Hollywood Reporter notes that moments after the interruption, Viacom reportedly revealed this to be a marketing stunt, made to publicize a new and upcoming late night show.

While the Gizmodo report says “The Daily Show” is in a slump since the departure of Jon Stewart and that the stunt tends to “reek of desperation,” it seems this was merely part of Viacom’s unusual effort to promote their new upcoming show. A video clip of the stunt is included below.

As noted by the Hollywood Reporter, there was a second stunt of this nature in the segment following “The Daily Show.” The episode of “@Midnight,” hosted by Chris Hardwick, suffered a similar fate during a commercial break, with footage of a bear video, labeled with the same “Russian” domain.

That stunt can be viewed below.

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