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TV veteran tapped as g.m. of Onion

Mitch Semel to help drive humor org's push into TV

More proof that the Onion is serious about expanding its TV biz: The humor website has tapped veteran programmer Mitch Semel to serve as its general manager.

Semel, who will be based in Gotham, will oversee all aspects of the Onion’s editorial operation, including its newspaper and all television ventures. He’ll report to chief exec Steve Hannah.

ESPN spoof “Onion SportsDome” premiered last week on Comedy Central, and “The Onion News Network” news spoof — which has been a staple of the website — is set to debut Friday on IFC.

Semel has a range of network and cable experience, and has headed his own consulting firm since 2003.

The appointment of Semel reflects a natural evolution for the Onion, Hannah said.

“We’d been reading how Web video was going to be big, so we hired smart young people,” he told Daily Variety. “The idea was, if we’re really good at this, eventually the TV studios would come knocking.”

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