Onion News, our funniest network source

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In this photo released by Mathew Imaging for

In this photo released by Mathew Imaging for IFC, Onion News Network anchors, Brad Holbrook as "Jim Haggerty", Tracy Toth as "Tracy Gill," Suzanne Sena as "Brooke Alvarez" and Todd Alan Crain as "Tucker Hope" attend the IFC Onion News Network Panel Lunch Event, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011 at the Paley Center for Media in New York. The Onion News Network premieres on IFC Jan. 21, 2011 at 10 p.m. EDT/PDT. Photo Credit: AP

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REASON TO WATCH: From the folks who brought you the satirical website. The Onion, "America's Finest News Source."

WHEN/WHERE: Friday night at 10 on IFC

The Onion News Network is the world's largest TV news network, hosted by Brooke Alvarez (played by Suzanne Sena, a former local TV news anchor, and reporter for E! and "Extra"). She's a rapid-fire anchormonster who clicks around the set in her stilettos, while introducing news stories, or throwing to a reporter in the field for a remote, or debriefing in-studio experts. ONN stories include Kim Jong Il's efforts to play Batman in the next Warner Bros. epic (Christian Bale will become temporary ruler of North Korea while he's on leave); and pesky time travelers from the future who keep trying to kidnap Suri Cruise.

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MY SAY Someone (somewhere) in America flipping through channels late on a Friday night will come across ONN's fake newscast, and stop in abject wonderment. "Hey, Mabel - get in here! Someone named Zorla in New Mexico just gave birth to 350 babies." ONN's fake news is not the TV version of (say) Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast, but it is so convincing, self-righteous, bellicose and perfectly deadpan that I was ready to buy a couple of these stories, too - except for the one about the "Thetan transtemporal mercenary" hired by the Cruises to protect Suri. (Interesting piece, though.)

BOTTOM LINE ONN expertly mimics a certain type of breathless, vacuous, bubbleheaded news delivery. That delivery, however, comes so fast that just as you've begun to absorb one punch line, another comes flying right by and then another and another. Information tumbles off the screen and often flat onto the floor. Too bad, because much of what's here is very funny, if occasionally cruel.


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