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Ex-Nightline host Ted Koppel had some fun at the expense of his boss, Discovery Channel, and his own ratings Thursday night, though the folks at Animal Planet couldn’t have been too happy about it.

Of course, the venue was the mecca of self- (and boss) deprecation, Jon Stewart’s Daily Show.

Koppel, who showed up to plug his new four-part series on China, The People’s Republic of Capitalism, made his entrance holding a small, black dog who proceeded to lap up water–I assume–from a Daily Show mug on Stewart’s desk.

Koppel explained that the dog, Pepper,  belonged to his daughter. Then, as if ripping a page–the cover, actually–from the January 1973 issue of National Lampoon–Koppel said that he had been told by Discovery that a lot of people need to watch his upcoming special, or Pepper was going to have to be put down, though he couched it in the euphemism of a trip to Bide-a-Wee farm.

So, for all those wishing to spare the pooch, the show airs July 9-12 at 10 p.m. on Discovery. No word on whether Animal Planet would also be launching a "Save Pepper" cross-promotion just to be on the safe side.

By the way, I just discovered that that National Lampoon cover was voted the seventh-best magazine cover of the past 40 years. For those not around at the time, it had a picture of a frightened dog on the cover with a gun pointed at its head and the warning: "If you don’t buy this magazine, we’ll kill this dog."

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