The ever-growing fan base, though, means that the staff has been working overtime: Along with putting out the weekly paper which as of last November is available nationally at Barnes & Noble the crew has been slaving for the last year over a book, to be published by Crown in time for April Fools' Day, called Our Dumb Century: The Onion Presents 100 Years of Headlines From America's Finest News Source. And though they're sheepish about discussing the details, the staff is in negotiations with a network to create a one-hour ''look back at the century''-type show, says Siegel, that will coincide with the book's release.
With all these high-profile projects, the possibility of going from underground Internet sensation to overhyped Last Big Thing has become an issue. Or, as they themselves might put it, ''Sarcastic Paper Staff Sells Out, Appears in Gap Ads.'' ''Going too big is not a problem,'' says head writer Todd Hanson, 30, who's been with the paper almost from the beginning. ''As long as we're in control and someone like [ex-head of NBC Entertainment] Warren Littlefield isn't makingthe decisions, there's no fear of oversaturation.'' ''Besides,'' as Siegel says, ''we'll never be on the cover of EW; we'll always be on page 27.''
What, the cover of EW Internet isn't good enough?
Ten predictions for 1999 from the staff of The Onion
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will appear on the cover of Vanity Fair, nude.
A disease previously thought to be incurable will be defeated by massive funding after Barbra Streisand is diagnosed with it.
Michael Jordan will retire and become a recluse, inspiring a huge ''retiring and becoming a recluse'' fad among urban youths.
Network TV will just keep getting better and better.
A Muppet will rise in the East and lead the world to total destruction.
Star Wars: Episode I will gross thousands, perhaps even millions of dollars.
A viable resolution to the Mideast peace process will be proposed by Florence Henderson on Politically Incorrect.
Lindsay Wagner will continue to sustain vicious beatings on the Lifetime Network.
Congress will break up and pursue side projects.
Emboldened by numerous Fox TV specials, animals will step up their attacks against humans.