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In the fall of 1996, Ben Karlin, who had been a writer/editor for the publication since graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 1993, moved to Los Angeles and joined other former Onion staff members to create a pilot for a news parody titled Deadline: Now for the Fox Network.

While the 15-minute pilot, which was completed in 1997, was never picked up as a series for production, its creation lead to steady writing work for Karlin and other former Onion staffers, such as writing some episodes of Space Ghost Coast to Coast on the Cartoon Network.

So it's a combination of students and pretty impressive people.

I get the feeling that the print version is read by people hanging out in bars".

According to Bolton, the most plausible explanation is that The Onion was mocking a campus newsletter called The Union.

Conceived by University of Wisconsin students Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson, The Onion was founded as a weekly print newspaper for satirical news in 1988 in Madison, Wisconsin by Keck and Johnson with their friends Scott Dikkers as cartoonist and Peter Haise as publisher.

The voice of Virtual Bill was provided by then editor Dikkers.

After the initial premiere, Virtual Bill returned to MTV on December 17, 1998 with another TV special and an interactive web special produced by Pulse that ported the 3D data into a web compatible format using Pulse's proprietary plug-in. It was kind of like a slightly awkward, but successful, first date.

In the wake of Karlin's departure, long time staff writer Rob Siegel Sometime after The Onion appeared online in 1996, the publication was threatened with a lawsuit from Janet Jackson because of the article "Dying Boy Gets Wish: To Pork Janet Jackson".

"We were very nearly sued out of existence by Janet Jackson", said Siegel, adding that in the past he was forbidden to talk about the legal matter and the celebrity involved.

Although four fake news segments anchored by Stephen Colbert were recorded, only one of the segments actually aired.

"If you look at the breakdown of people who read The Onion online, it's like Microsoft, Dell Computers, the Department of Justice and then, like, University of Wisconsin.

"People always ask questions about where the name The Onion came from", said former President Sean Mills in an interview with Wikinews; "and, when I recently asked (co-founder) Tim Keck, who was one of the founders, he told me...literally that his uncle said he should call it The Onion when he saw him and Chris Johnson eating an onion sandwich.

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