EXCLUSIVE: Onion, Inc. has signed with WME. The agency will represent The Onion brand in areas including scripted and non-scripted television, digital media, and public appearances. The Onion satire news organization reaches over 10 million fans per month via a family of digital properties including TheOnion.com and AVClub.com. The Onion recently produced the Amazon Originals pilot, Onion News Empire, a behind-the-scenes look at a cable news network starring Jeffrey Tambor, Chris Masterson, William Sadler and Cheyenne Jackson. The pilot is in consideration for a series pickup and currently available for viewing on Amazonoriginals.com. The company’s previous TV efforts include the 2011 series Onion SportsDome on Comedy Central and Onion News Network on IFC.
After launching two sports news shows this year, Comedy Central is not continuing with either. The cable network has decided not to go forward with a second season of Sports Show With Norm Macdonald, which ended its freshman season June 7, or Onion SportsDome, which wrapped its first season March 15. Onion SportsDome premiered with 1.5 million viewers, Sports Show With Norm Macdonald with 1 million, both airing behind Comedy Central’s top-rated series Tosh.0. Jon Benjamin Has a Van, which succeeded them in the slot, opened with 1.16 million last Tuesday. For the Onion, this was one of two branded series that launched in the past few months. The other, Onion News Network on IFC, has been renewed for a second season.
After launching two Onion-branded cable series this year, the satiric news organization is setting its sights on broadcast next. The Onion, best known for its fake-news newspaper and Web site, has signed a one-year first-look development deal with CBS Television Studios. Under the pact, The Onion’s creative team will develop ideas for non-Onion-branded broadcast comedy series as well as online series for CBS Interactive’s digital properties. “We’re looking forward to the creative challenge and, in fact, we’ve already come up with several exciting ideas, including 3 and a Half Men, 12 Men and Three-Quarters, and 72.683 Women,” said Joe Randazzo, Editor of The Onion. “This new relationship with CBS will hopefully allow us to take fraction-based comedy to new heights.” Added The Onion’s general manager Mitch Semel. “Also, it’s nice to be able to check off ‘Phase 4’ in our seven-part plan to take over the world by 2014. … Here’s hoping those oil prices continue to rise.” While taking over the world is highly dubious, a TV takeover would not be that far-fetched if the CBS Studios deal results in a broadcast series for the 2012-13 season. The Onion currently has two shows on the air: Onion News Network on IFC, which has already been renewed for a second season, and Onion SportsDome on Comedy Central, which is awaiting word after completing its freshman season.