The A.V. Club

The A.V. Club is an online newspaper[1] 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 The Onion. In the early years after that was established on the Internet in 1996, the supplement had minimal presence on the website.

The A.V. Club
TypePopular culture, entertainment, news, reviews, politics, progressive
Owner(s)G/O Media
Editor-in-chiefLaura M. Browning
Founded1993 (1993)
HeadquartersChicago, Illinois, U.S.

A 2005 website redesign placed The A.V. Club in a more prominent position, allowing its online identity to grow. Unlike its parent publication, The A.V. Club is not satirical.[2] The publication's name is a reference to audiovisual clubs typical of American high schools.[3]


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 were debuted on the Internet.[4] The A.V. Club was originally a sub-section[5] of the main domain name.

The supplement was moved to its own domain name,,[6] before the 2005 acquisition of the shorter domain name.[7] 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.[8]

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.[9] In late 2009 the website was reported to have received more than 1.4 million unique visitors and 75,000 comments per month.[10]

At its peak, the print version of The A.V. Club was available in 17 different cities.[11] 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.[12]

2012–2014 senior staff departures

On December 13, 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."[13][14][15]

On April 2, 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.[16]

On April 26, 2013, long-time writers Nathan Rabin, Tasha Robinson, and Genevieve Koski announced that they would also be leaving the website to begin work on a new project with Scott Tobias and Keith Phipps.[17] Koski also said that she would continue to write freelance articles.[18] 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.[17] On May 30, 2013, it was announced that those six writers would be part of the senior staff of The Dissolve, a film website run by Pitchfork Media.[19]

In April and June 2014, senior staff writers Kyle Ryan, Sonia Saraiya, and Emily VanDerWerff[20] left the website for positions at Entertainment Weekly, Salon and Vox Media, respectively.[21][22] In 2015, Ryan returned to Onion, Inc. for a position in development.[23] Following his departure from The Dissolve earlier that month, Nathan Rabin returned to write freelance for the AV Club website in May 2015.[24] He renewed his regular column "My World of Flops". The Dissolve folded in July 2015.[25]

Television series

On February 16, 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 and based on the website.[26] The series, hosted by Teti, began airing on Fusion on 16 March 2017 and ran for one season.[27] The series featured news, criticism, and discussions about various popular culture topics and featured staff members from the website.

Move to Univision

In January 2016 Univision Communications acquired "a 40 percent, controlling stake" in Onion Inc., the parent company of The A.V. Club.[28] 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.[29]

The site was subsequently migrated from Bulbs, an internal content management system developed by Onion Inc., to the Gawker-developed Kinja platform.[30][31] It has deleted the comment section and audience reviews hosted on the previous site. In July of 2018, Univision announced they were looking for a buyer for the entire Gizmodo Group.[32]


On December 9, 2010, the website ComicsComicsMag revealed that 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.[33] After the review was removed, editor Keith Phipps posted an apology on the website.[34] Leonard Pierce, the author of the review, was terminated from his freelance role with the website.[35]


  • The Tenacity Of The Cockroach: Conversations With Entertainment's Most Enduring Outsiders (2002, ISBN 1-4000-4724-2) is a collection of 68 interviews featured in previous issues.
  • Inventory: 16 Films Featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls, 10 Great Songs Nearly Ruined by Saxophone, and 100 More Obsessively Specific Pop-Culture Lists (2009, ISBN 1-4165-9473-6) is a combination of never-before-published lists and material already available on the AV Club website.
  • My Year of Flops: The A.V. Club Presents One Man's Journey Deep into the Heart of Cinematic Failure (2010, ISBN 1-4391-5312-4) consists of entries taken from the website's My Year of Flops column by Nathan Rabin, along with new material not previously available. It is the first A.V. Club release credited to a single author.

A.V. Club year-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.

Annual rankings for television began in 2010.

Album of the Year

Year Artist Album Nation Source
2006The Hold SteadyBoys and Girls in America United States[36]
2007Arcade FireNeon Bible Canada[37]
2008TV on the RadioDear Science United States[38]
2009PhoenixWolfgang Amadeus Phoenix France[39]
2010Kanye WestMy Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy United States[40]
2011Wye OakCivilian United States[41]
2012Frank OceanChannel Orange United States[42]
2013Kanye WestYeezus United States[43]
2014Angel OlsenBurn Your Fire for No Witness United States[44]
2015Kendrick LamarTo Pimp a Butterfly United States[45]
2016David BowieBlackstar United Kingdom[46]
2017Kendrick LamarDAMN. United States[47]
2018Beach House7 United States[48]
2019FKA TwigsMagdalene[49]

Film of the Year

Year Director Film Nation Source
2006Alfonso CuarónChildren of Men United States
 United Kingdom
2007Joel and Ethan CoenNo Country for Old Men United States[51]
2008Andrew StantonWALL-E United States[52]
2009Kathryn BigelowThe Hurt Locker United States
2010Debra GranikWinter's Bone United States[54]
2011Terrence MalickThe Tree of Life United States[55]
2012Paul Thomas AndersonThe Master United States[56]
2013Richard LinklaterBefore Midnight United States[57]
2014Richard LinklaterBoyhood United States[58]
2015George MillerMad Max: Fury Road Australia
 United States
2016Kenneth LonerganManchester by the Sea United States[60]
2017Sean BakerThe Florida Project United States[61]
2018Lee Chang-dongBurning South Korea[62]
2019Martin ScorseseThe Irishman United States[63]

Television Show of the Year

Year Show Network Nation Source
2010Breaking BadAMC United States[64]
2011LouieFX United States[65]
2012Breaking BadAMC United States[66]
2013EnlightenedHBO United States[67]
2014HannibalNBC United States[68]
2015Mad MenAMC United States[69]
2016The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime StoryFX United States[70]
2017The Good PlaceNBC United States[71]
2018The AmericansFX United States[72]
2019FleabagPrime Video United Kingdom[73]


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  15. Editor Keith Phipps Leaves The A.V. Club Criticwire, December 13, 2012
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  17. An Update from the AV Club The AV Club April 26, 2013
  18. @GenevieveKoski (26 April 2013). "To clarify: I'll still contribute as a freelancer whenever I can, but I am no longer an editor. So you can't blame me for mistakes anymore!" (Tweet) via Twitter.
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