The A.V. Club

Last updated

The A.V. Club
The A.V. Club logo.svg
Type Popular culture, entertainment, news, reviews, politics, progressive
FormatInternet
Owner(s) G/O Media
Editor-in-chiefScott Robson [1]
Founded1993;28 years ago (1993)
LanguageEnglish
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Website avclub.com

The A.V. Club is an American online newspaper [2] and entertainment website featuring reviews, interviews, and other articles that examine films, music, television, books, games, and other elements of pop-culture media. The A.V. Club was created in 1993 as a supplement to its satirical parent publication, The Onion . While it was a part of The Onion's 1996 website launch, The A.V. Club had minimal presence on the website at that point.

Contents

A 2005 website redesign placed The A.V. Club in a more prominent position, allowing its online identity to grow. Unlike The Onion, The A.V. Club and other sites owned by G/O Media are not satirical. [3] The publication's name is a reference to audiovisual (AV) clubs typical of American high schools. [4]

History

In 1993, five years after the founding of The Onion, Stephen Thompson, a student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, launched an entertainment section of the newspaper.

In 1996, both The Onion and The A.V. Club debuted on the Internet. [5] The A.V. Club was originally a subsection [6] of the main theonion.com domain name.

The supplement was moved to its own domain name, theavclub.com, [7] before the 2005 acquisition of the shorter avclub.com domain name. [8] The latter change coincided with a redesign that incorporated reader comments and blog content. In 2006, the website shifted its content model again to add content on a daily, rather than weekly, basis. Some contributors have become established as freelance writers and editors.

In December 2004, Stephen Thompson left his position as founding editor of The A.V. Club. [9]

According to Sean Mills, then-president of The Onion, the A.V. Club website first reached more than 1 million unique visitors in October 2007. [10] In late 2009, the website was reported to have received more than 1.4 million unique visitors and 75,000 comments per month. [11]

At its peak, the print version of The A.V. Club was available in 17 different cities. [12] Localized sections of the website were also maintained, with reviews and news relevant to specific cities. The print version and localized websites were gradually discontinued, and in December 2013, print publication ceased production in the last three markets. [13]

2012–2014 staff departures

On 13 December 2012, long-time writer and editor Keith Phipps, who oversaw the website after Stephen Thompson left, stepped down from his role as editor of The A.V. Club. He said, "Onion, Inc. and I have come to a mutual parting of the ways." [14] [15] [16]

On 2 April 2013, long-time film editor and critic Scott Tobias stepped down as film editor of The A.V. Club. He said via Twitter, "After 15 great years @theavclub, I step down as Film Editor next Friday." [17]

On 26 April 2013, long-time writers Nathan Rabin, Tasha Robinson, and Genevieve Koski announced they would also be leaving the website to begin work on a new project with Scott Tobias and Keith Phipps. [18] Koski also said that she would continue to write freelance articles. [19] Writer Noel Murray announced he would be joining their new project, but would also continue to contribute to The A.V. Club in a reduced capacity. [18] On 30 May 2013, those six writers were announced as becoming part of the senior staff of The Dissolve , a film website run by Pitchfork Media. [20]

In April and June 2014, senior staff writers Kyle Ryan, Sonia Saraiya, and Emily VanDerWerff [21] left the website for positions at Entertainment Weekly , Salon , and Vox Media, respectively. [22] [23] In 2015, Ryan returned to Onion, Inc. for a position in development. [24] Following his departure from The Dissolve earlier that month, Nathan Rabin returned to write freelance for the A.V. Club website in May 2015. [25] He renewed his regular column "My World of Flops". The Dissolve folded in July 2015. [26]

Television series

On 16 February 2017, The A.V. Club's editor-at-large, John Teti, posted an article on the website announcing the upcoming release of a television series, titled The A.V. Club, based on the website. [27] The series, hosted by Teti, began airing on Fusion on 16 March 2017 and ran for one season. [28] The series featured news, criticism, and discussions about various popular-culture topics and featured staff members from the website.

Move to Univision, then G/O Media

In January 2016, Univision Communications acquired "a 40 percent, controlling stake" in Onion Inc., the parent company of The A.V. Club. [29] Later that year, Univision also purchased Gawker Media and reorganized several of Gawker's sites into the new Gizmodo Media Group, a division of Fusion Media Group. [30]

The site was subsequently migrated from Bulbs, an internal content management system developed by Onion Inc. to the Gawker-developed Kinja platform. [31] [32] It deleted the comment section and audience reviews hosted on the previous site. In July 2018, Univision announced it was looking for a buyer for the entire Gizmodo Group. [33]

In April 2019, Gizmodo and The Onion were sold to private-equity firm Great Hill Partners, which combined them into a new company named G/O Media. [34] In July 2019, executive editor Laura M. Browning and managing editor Caitlin PenzeyMoog left. [35] In early 2020, former People magazine and Entertainment Weekly editor Patrick Gomez was named editor-in-chief, and it was announced that the site was opening a Los Angeles bureau. [36] In August 2021, Yahoo! Entertainment and E! Online alum Scott Robson joined to lead the team. [37]

Onion Inc. Union

In March 2018 the employees of the company announced they had unionized with the Writers Guild Of America, East. [38] The union comprises "all of the creative staffs at Onion Inc.: The A.V. Club, The Onion, ClickHole, The Takeout, Onion Labs, and Onion Inc.’s video and art departments." [39] (ClickHole was subsequently acquired by Cards Against Humanity in February 2020. [40] ) The union was recognized on 20 April 2018 [41] and reached a contract agreement with management on 20 December 2018. [41] The contract includes "annual pay increases, minimum pay grades, strong diversity and anti-harassment language, just cause, union security, editorial independence, intellectual property rights, and an end to permalancers." [42]

Controversy

On 9 December 2010, the website ComicsComicsMag revealed a capsule review for the book Genius, Isolated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth had been fabricated. The book had not yet been published nor even completed by the authors. [43] After the review was removed, editor Keith Phipps posted an apology on the website, stating that the reporter assigned the review could not locate a copy of the book ("for obvious reasons"), so fabricated it. [44] Leonard Pierce, the author of the review, was terminated from his freelance role with the website. [45]

Books

Awards

In 2017, The A.V. Club won an Eisner Award for "Best Comics-related Periodical/Journalism" (for works published in 2016). [46] The award went to writers Oliver Sava, Caitlin Rosberg, Shea Hennum, and Tegan O'Neil. The award also went to editor Caitlin PenzeyMoog. [47]

A.V. Club year- and decade-end lists

Starting in 1999, only lists written by individual writers were published. Beginning in 2006, The A.V. Club began publishing website-consensus, year-end album and film rankings, together with lists created by individual writers. Additionally decade-end lists were published for the 2000s and 2010s. [48] [49]

Annual rankings for television began in 2010.

Album of the Year

YearArtistAlbumNationSource
2006 The Hold Steady Boys and Girls in America Flag of the United States.svg  United States [50]
2007 Arcade Fire Neon Bible Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada [51]
2008 TV on the Radio Dear Science Flag of the United States.svg  United States [52]
2009 Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix Flag of France.svg  France [53]
2010 Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Flag of the United States.svg  United States [54]
2011 Wye Oak Civilian Flag of the United States.svg  United States [55]
2012 Frank Ocean Channel Orange Flag of the United States.svg  United States [56]
2013 Kanye West Yeezus Flag of the United States.svg  United States [57]
2014 Angel Olsen Burn Your Fire for No Witness Flag of the United States.svg  United States [58]
2015 Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly Flag of the United States.svg  United States [59]
2016 David Bowie Blackstar Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom [60]
2017 Kendrick Lamar DAMN. Flag of the United States.svg  United States [61]
2018 Beach House 7 Flag of the United States.svg  United States [62]
2019 FKA Twigs Magdalene Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom [63]
2020 Fiona Apple Fetch the Bolt Cutters Flag of the United States.svg  United States [64]

Film of the Year

YearDirectorFilmNationSource
2006 Alfonso Cuarón Children of Men Flag of the United States.svg  United States
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico
[65]
2007 Joel and Ethan Coen No Country for Old Men Flag of the United States.svg  United States [66]
2008 Andrew Stanton WALL-E Flag of the United States.svg  United States [67]
2009 Kathryn Bigelow The Hurt Locker Flag of the United States.svg  United States
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
Flag of France.svg  France
[68]
2010 Debra Granik Winter's Bone Flag of the United States.svg  United States [69]
2011 Terrence Malick The Tree of Life Flag of the United States.svg  United States [70]
2012 Paul Thomas Anderson The Master Flag of the United States.svg  United States [71]
2013 Richard Linklater Before Midnight Flag of the United States.svg  United States [72]
2014 Richard Linklater Boyhood Flag of the United States.svg  United States [73]
2015 George Miller Mad Max: Fury Road Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia
Flag of the United States.svg  United States
[74]
2016 Kenneth Lonergan Manchester by the Sea Flag of the United States.svg  United States [75]
2017 Sean Baker The Florida Project Flag of the United States.svg  United States [76]
2018 Lee Chang-dong Burning Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea [77]
2019 Martin Scorsese The Irishman Flag of the United States.svg  United States [78]
2020 Kelly Reichardt First Cow Flag of the United States.svg  United States [79]

Television Show of the Year

YearShowNetworkNationSource
2010 Breaking Bad AMC Flag of the United States.svg  United States [80]
2011 Louie FX Flag of the United States.svg  United States [81]
2012 Breaking Bad AMC Flag of the United States.svg  United States [82]
2013 Enlightened HBO Flag of the United States.svg  United States [83]
2014 Hannibal NBC Flag of the United States.svg  United States [84]
2015 Mad Men AMC Flag of the United States.svg  United States [85]
2016 The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story FX Flag of the United States.svg  United States [86]
2017 The Good Place NBC Flag of the United States.svg  United States [87]
2018 The Americans FX Flag of the United States.svg  United States [88]
2019 Fleabag Amazon Prime Video Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom [89]
2020 I May Destroy You HBO Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom [90]

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