Earlier today IFC held a lunch to celebrate the launch of its own cable news operation, The Onion News Network.
Anchors “Brooke Alvarez” (played by former Fox News Channel anchor Suzanne Sena). “Tucker Hope” (played by Todd Alan Crain), “Jim Haggerty” (Brad Holbrook) and Tracy Gill (Tracy Toth) appeared in a panel discussion moderated by Jonathan Alter, and also spoke to media reporters–in character–about the fake news show.
“On behalf of our entire news team, I just wanted to say thank you to our competitors at CNN, Fox News and MSNBC,” said ONN executive producer Will Graham at the start of the lunch. “They really set the bar so high, whether it is making their graphics swooshier, or doing more and more coverage of missing teen girls every day, we wouldn’t have the inspiration that keeps driving us. Thank you to them, and just know that we will never misinform the public as much as they do.”
The program takes the format of cable news, and uses it to push outlandish stories… albeit stories with a grain of truth. For example, coverage of nasty winter weather comes with the splashy chyron: “SNOWLOCAUST:”
Other “anchors” mock the stylings of Glenn Beck and Nancy Grace, while Haggerty and Gill co-anchor “Today Now,” ONN’s version of the morning news show.
But the star of the show is Alvarez, who anchors the FactZone, ONN’s signature newscast.
“ONN offers one thing, and that is merciless, crushing news,” Alvarez says. “If you can imagine watching CNN or Fox News, but on 10,000 milligrams of steroids, that is pretty much us.”
Much like Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly, Alvarez has a commentary portion of her program “In My Sights,” where she tackles the issues of the day that really get to her. For example, her longstanding feud with CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer.
“Wolf Blitzer, I must ask you to apologize for what you did to me at Nobu last night. By introducing me to your table as “Brenda” Alvarez you not only humiliated me in front of the elite Nobu clientele, but revealed how desperate and pathetic you’ve become,” says Alvarez during the program. “Why is this tiny, nothing of a man, slighting the woman with the best chin in news? That is what’s in my sights.”
The show’s tone is spot-on, but with “The Daily Show” and “Colbert Report” so utterly dominating the fake news landscape, ONN has its work cut out for it.
ONN will debut on IFC Friday, January 21, at 10 PM.