In April 2000, Dream Works Studios optioned two stories from the satirical newspaper, "Canadian Girlfriend Unsubstantiated"—which was to be written by former Onion editor and writer Rich Dahm—and "Tenth Circle Added to Rapidly Growing Hell" with an eye towards producing the later as a family comedy. In February 2001, Miramax Films head Harvey Weinstein announced they had reached a first look agreement to develop scripts and features with The Onion.
"The story is so dark and hate filled—I was shocked", said head writer Todd Hanson. "As lifelong New Yorkers, we're proud to welcome The Onion to our city with this first-look deal", said Harvey Weinstein.
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.The book featured mocked-up newspaper front pages from the entire 20th century, presented under the premise that the publication had been continuously in print since before 1900. Dream Works planned for the finished "Tenth Circle Added to Rapidly Growing Hell" to involve animation as well as musical singalongs.Regardless of the nearly two years of work spent on conceiving and producing Our Dumb Century, the writers only received bonuses of a few thousand dollars, despite the fact that the two-book publishing deal netted The Onion 0,000. Beginning in the fall of 2000 to early 2001, the company relocated its editorial offices from Madison, Wisconsin to a renovated warehouse in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan (New York City) to raise The Onions profile, expand the publication from being simply a humor newspaper into a full production company, as well as develop editorial content in other media—including books, television and movies—and engage more directly with Internet companies as far as advertising revenue goes."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.They had literally just cut up the onion and put it on bread." According to former editorial manager, Chet Clem, their food budget was so low when they started the paper that they were down to white bread and onions.