The truth behind the excruciating New Year countdown that went viral after its broadcast on Australian television has emerged.
It was a moment so incredibly awkward it had viewers scratching their heads about what was really going on, but now it has been revealed Eleven's The Loop staged the entire thing, and succeeded in pranking the world.
The show apparently used staff members to stand in as bored "competition winners" listlessly counting down to 2017.
Presenter Scott Tweedie revealed the full story on the Studio 10 breakfast show this morning, admitting the segment was fake.
"We decided instead of doing the greatest countdown ever, how can we make this as awkward as possible?" said the presenter, adding that while many were confused, the show's regular viewers knew it was a stitch-up. "We love awkward," he added.
But he said he didn't expect the clip to get quite as many views as it did.
"We thought there would be a few tweets on Facebook posts, but then news.com.au, Huffington Post, New York Post, the world, even the Pakistan Telegraph, they are talking about this story.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we got you."
During a day of questions about whether the cringey countdown had been staged, co-hosts Tweedie and Olivia Phyland remained mysteriously tight-lipped about what had happened. Network Ten, which owns the channel, did not respond to queries either.
Tweedie said the first clue came when he referred to it as "the biggest competition in Australia" - as well as the fact there was no evidence of The Loop ever running such a contest.
"Who wants to come into a studio on New Year's Eve?" he asked, confessing it was a fake NYE too, since the segment wasn't live. "They were so deadpan. Who is unhappy on New Year's Eve?"
This morning, Mumbrella spotted that one of the disgruntled "fans" bore a suspicious resemblance to Ten producer Paul Perigo in his LinkedIn profile picture.
A news.com.au staff member also recognised another member of the crowd, all dressed in office wear, as someone who works at the network.
Tweedie initially acted innocent, telling Twitter the girl who threw a party popper at his co-host was escorted out of the building, and relishing accusations the segment was worse than Mariah Carey's trainwreck New Year appearance.
As Studio 10 host Sarah Harris remarked, we've just seen 2017's first fake news story.