The Onion News Network Debuts on TV: News Without Mercy

PHOTO: Now Entering The Uncomfortable News Zone: The Onion News Network DebutsPlayKarolina Wotjasik/IFC
WATCH 'Onion News Network' Arrives on IFC

Watch out CNN, there's a new cable news show in town.

Well, almost.

Tune in Friday night to the Independent Film Channel for the TV debut of the Onion News Network. Complete with flashy graphics and a high-def touchscreen "Recon Wall," it has all the trappings of a cable news show but without any of the facts. It's the first-ever fake news network.

The spin-off of the popular online series will fall somewhere on the spectrum between "Saturday Night Live Live Weekend Update" and "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart." But there is one big difference: ONN anchors are dead serious.

"Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert both get the joke," said Todd Crain, who plays co-host Tucker Hope on ONN. "We don't know where the joke is. We are presenting for a hard news audience that is hungry to hear it."

The anchors are not comedians, they're not riffing on the day's headlines and they're not after a fair and balanced reputation. The ONN makes up its news.

The network aims to poke fun and imitate cable news coverage.

"Our goal is to focus on how the news is presented; the absurdity of it, the excessive flashing graphics and lights," Crain said. "Everything is excessive."

Get to Know the Anchors

Actress and former real-life Fox News anchor Suzanne Sena will lead the charge as Brooke Alvarez, the hard hitting, no-nonsense, beauty queen of news on the ONN.

Brooke anchors "FactZone," the network's primetime show that can claim not one but three "Swoosh Awards for Most Awesome News Graphics" and a viewership of 100 million households nationwide.

Ads for the show boast that the blond anchor is "smugger than Keith Olbermann, louder than Sean Hannity and prettier than Anderson Cooper."

And, Sena said, Brooke doesn't deny it.

"Brooke has more stalkers than any other news anchor -- 500 at least -- and for good reason." Sena said. "She's fashionable, she's smart and doesn't have a lot of emotion. Oh, and she is not shy about her attributes and her accomplishments."

Cooper Meets Williams Meets O'Reilly

As far as Brooke is concerned, she's the only name in news that matters.

For Sena and Crain, their on-air characters are exaggerated, over the top versions of today's on-air egos.

"I try to bring in aspects of Anderson Cooper and Brian Williams, people that I deeply respect; even a little Bill O'Reilly," Crain said.

The Uncomfortable News Zone

Crain and Sena admit that perhaps the show steps over the line at times.

"Sometimes, we feel that internal feeling that we've taken it too far," Crain said. "But I think it's a good thing."

The humor is unapologetically harsh. Fans of the famous Onion newspaper have delighted in its offensive satire for years, and the ONN won't disappoint.

"We are an equal opportunity offender," Crain said.

Watch the debut episode tonight at 10 p.m. ET on IFC. In addition to the "FactZone," ONN will air Today Now!," "Washington This Afternoon," "Cressbeckler Stance," "Star Fix," "Cross Examination With Shelby Cross" and "In the Know."