That last target alone screams for an "Onion Show." The landscape of screaming heads and fast talkers across the cable news landscape has become a parody of itself that only The Onion could put in its corner and nail its feet to the floor.
Last night, Comedy Central gave the funny-ass folks at The Onion their first shot of television greatness with 'Onion SportsDome,' a show that takes a much needed shot at the high-octane, flashy grapics, superego-inflated world of sports reporting and punditry (It's a good year for The Onion, as IFC debuts 'The Onion News Network' on January 21).
I can't recall anybody doing a half-hour comedy news program focusing on sports. 'The Daily Show' pretty much has cornered the parody news and politics market (although the same could be argued about the 'Weekend Update' segment on 'Saturday Night Live'). The concept has potential. There are many sports fans that love comedy and vice-versa. There is also already a built-in audience from using The Onion's brand.
Other attempts have been made at genre news parody with the only stand-out being 'The Colbert Report' parodying opinion-style news. 'Chocolate News' didn't last long and don't get me started on 'The Half Hour News Hour.' Hopefully this show will have a longer run.
Well, you're in luck: Comedy Central has given a series order to its 'Onion Sports Network' pilot, officially bringing the popular satiric newspaper and Web site to the network, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Ten episodes have been ordered of the scripted series, which will debut early next year; and anything in sports is fair game, from teams, to players, to fans, to products to, of course, other media coverage.
IFC has picked up three very interesting shows from some very interesting people. The first show is the new David Cross/Will Arnett show 'The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret,' the UK comedy about an American temp worker (Cross) who somehow gets a big gig in the British office.
Tim Kring tells The Onion that he knows what fans are saying about the show, but he also wants fans to know that there are things going on behind the scenes that they might not be aware of. For example, the writers strike hurt the show. Two, it's actually a more consistent show when more writers write an episode than having just one writer on an episode. Three, the writers don't even think of the show as being in "seasons," it's really all one continuous plot.
Comedy Central has ordered a half-hour scripted pilot based on the Onion's Sports Network. The OSN is part of the popular satirical magazine's online TV news network that launched a little under a year ago.
This isn't the first time the network has tried to do a satirical sports show. Comedy Central also shot a pilot for a Daily Show-esque sports show called Sports Central that died in the pilot stage. This incarnation sounds much more promising since it will spoof not only sports figures and stories, but also the tone and style of sports media. Sweet sassy molassey, this is gonna rock!
The as-yet-unnamed show is set to be a half-hour scripted comedy that'll poke fun at all sides of the intense, often wacky world of sports, including "teams, players, leagues, sycophantic fans, ridiculous products and over-hyped sports coverage," according to the press statement, and is aimed towards die-hard sports fans and the casual viewers alike.
Anyone who's familiar with the exceedingly clever and hilarious video clips on the Onion's Sports Network site knows that this show has the goods to score a comedy touchdown: Their fast-paced delivery, flashy graphics, soaring guitar soundtrack and on-the-scene interviews with earnest, passionate fans are spot-on send-ups of ESPN's 'SportsCenter' and its ilk.
It's becoming harder and harder to tell the difference between shows like The Daily Show and The Situation Room or The Colbert Report and The O'Reilly Factor. Oh sure, i can tell the shows apart. I just can't decide which is funnier. Sometimes I wonder why Sean Hannity hasn't won the Thurber Prize.
No one has exploited the news' foibles and follies better than The Onion. Their newspaper parody crippled news junkies with laughter and probably the newspaper industry, as well, which is a bigger shame for newspaper people since The Onion is free. Their mockery of the 24-hour cable news network was just as brilliant and parallel.
But the line between news and news humor has now gone from aluminum gray to a dark and smokey charcoal. They have actually hired former CNN anchor Bobbie Battista.
You know, one of the great/sad things about satire is that sometimes it's almost too close to real life. Take this Onion headline:
Funny, yes, but given a television landscape riddled with unoriginal concepts, the idea of one network doing it's own version of another network's show (which, in turn, is based on another show) doesn't seem that unrealistic.
With the folks at The Onion starting a 24-hour online fake news network called The Onion News Network, or ONN, the same problem occurs. The Onion's president, Sean Mills, told Variety, with tongue apparently planted firmly in cheek, that ONN is not trying to be like The Daily Show or "Weekend Update" on SNL. "Those are parody shows, and this is serious news," said Mills. "There's no studio audience, and no one's in on the joke. What we are trying to create is a broadcast-quality newscast on the Internet."
One of the saddest changes in the television landscape has been the disappearance of the theme song. They're really not that important to the people who create TV shows now (or the networks who want to get more commercials in). Lost has just a single note as their theme song, ER has changed and shortened their theme song, Jericho has static, and Heroes doesn't have a theme song or credits either.
Luckily, the shows that still have theme songs also have opening credits. Shows like The Office and Dexter all have theme songs and opening credits. They're classic TV openings. Of course, it's nothing like years gone by, where almost all shows had theme song and opening credits. The Onion has picked 22 that they feel fit their shows perfectly. I don't know if that is the same as "best opening sequences," but the choices are interesting, quirky, a little maddening, and they left out a few, as I'm sure you'll agree.
I don't like Dane Cook's brand of comedy, but hey, I don't have to like everything. There are plenty of other comedians more suited to my palate on the comedy salad bar, so while I personally feel his "material" is all delivery and no punchline, it doesn't mean other people can't enjoy him with croutons.
CC Insider points to a funny satirical piece from The Onion about Cook's new HBO special, Burgasm, in which the young comedian riffs on Burger King's Texas Double Whopper for a full hour. In the article, Cook explains his plans for the special:
I personally recommend that you seek Sarah's sex advice. She and boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel were recently featured in Esquire's "What I've Learned" issue, and they had plenty of useful relationship tips to share. For instance, pretend your parents are someone else's. This makes you more tolerant of their eccentricities. That's great advice, and when you're done gleaning all the knowledge you can from Sarah, you can send a letter to Amy Sedaris care of The Believer for further enlightenment.
If you read through the essay, you can tell what argument they're mocking here: the age-old argument that Saturday Night Live was better when it first came on the air. But I like how it was mocked here; Mayer (a made-up name, by the way) decries how the show has slid downhill from its premiere episode from four weeks ago.
"In Studio 60's heyday, they would do this thing where Judd (Hirsch) would come out before the opening credits and deliver this long, angry monologue about the current state of network television. I used to sit in front of the TV, just waiting for him to unleash his famous catchphrase, 'It's not going to be a very good show tonight.' But they haven't done that for a while," he writes. He also laments how they keep using the same ten characters in every show and how the episodes all have the same structure. Funny stuff.