The Onion to Launch 'VICE' Parody Series

Shane_Smith_Onion_Inset - H 2015
AP Images/Invision; Courtesy of The Onion

Shane_Smith_Onion_Inset - H 2015

'EDGE' will mock the conventions of the HBO series.

The Onion has set its sights on Shane Smith

The satirical media company is debuting a new series, EDGE, to mock the excesses of HBO's VICE show. The web series, with episodes at under four minutes each, is the latest addition to an expanding slate from an in-house video team at Onion Studios. The show hits the web on Aug. 3. 

"VICE is wrought with a distinct self-confidence, which of course gets our writers salivating," stated The Onion's vp production, George Zwierzynski Jr. "The Onion team is highly competitive when it comes to other companies and publishers, so its only natural we would take a stab at VICE as a whole."

Much of the web series was shot in May and produced as the first series to be released through its Onion Studios site. The first teasers for the show showcase globetrotting correspondents roaming war zones and uttering lines that wouldn't be out of place on @Vice_Is_Hip, a parody Twitter feed that's been skewering Vice Media since September 2013. 

"We’re always keeping on eye on the changing landscape of media and the way news stories are being told," Zwierzynski told The Hollywood Reporter by email.

With the debut of EDGE, Vice Media now joins BuzzFeed as the latest high-profile new media company to get a dedicated Onion parody destination. 

Last June, the company unleashed stand-alone site Clickhole, a parody of BuzzFeed and Internet media conventions. The site, teeming with purposefully bizarre listicles and pointless quizzes, is also building out its video ambitions with "possibly weirder" fare, added Zwierzynski. "We’re currently in production of a new ClickHole Mythbusters-type series called Learn Attack!

While The Onion has delivered versions of C-SPAN live feeds, TED Talks and more online for years, the company's forays into TV content — notably with shows on IFC and Comedy Central — have been met with mixed results.  

The Onion's first video series, Onion News Network, debuted in spring 2007 to shred partisan cable fare. The show was picked up by IFC in January 2011, renewed for a second season and ended its run a year later.

Then there was Onion SportsDome, which happily mocked ESPN's SportsCenter, pledging highlight reels along with "rumor-mongering and petty personal attacks." The show debuted on Comedy Central in January 2011 but was canceled a few months later.

For now, EDGE will be a web-only addition to the company's portfolio. "We’ve been approached by a good amount of distro partners, and are in the process of thinking about the future of this series and others like it,"  Zwierzynski explained. "We do plan on extending the series, but what form that takes with a partner is still being detailed."