IFC asks for more ‘Onion’ layers

Net renews 'News' for second season

The IFC Network has renewed the “Onion News Network” for a second season and expanded the series order to 16 episodes — its largest yet for a scripted series. News emerged Tuesday from the cabler’s first upfront event, held at the hip Ace Hotel’s Breslin bar and dining room in Flatiron.

“Onion News Network” star Brooke Alvarez was the highlight of the presentation, giving her address in character as a self-satisfied news anchor and answering audience applause with “you’re welcome,” rather than “thank you.” Alvarez described the show as “a news typhoon inside an erupting volcano of information being struck constantly by lightning bolts of fact.”

In less hyperbolic terms, IFC and Sundance topper Evan Shapiro said the net had come a long way since its overhaul a year ago, reiterating the points he hit at the Sundance upfront earlier this month. “Niche is the new mass, and we embrace that,” Shapiro said. “We do not try to be all things to all people.”

Building on the buzz generated by “ONN” and “Portlandia,” IFC’s production slate includes four original series: Reveille’s “Commercial Kings,” about a pair of ad agents who make offbeat commercials for local businesses; 44 Pictures’ “Young, Broke & Beautiful”; writer/creator Alan Spencer’s “Bullet in the Face”; and Original Prods.’ “Whisker Wars,” a facial hair-growing competish.

In development are an untitled variety show hosted by Scott Aukerman, and Ethan Berlin and Eric Bryant’s “Pointless,” which arrived at the net via the New York Television Festival, marking one of the first major development deals for that fest.