The city's only education and arts cable network, LA36, looks like it'll be a victim of the city's $406 million budget deficit. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is recommending eliminating the channel's operating funds of $555,000.

Even though the channel raises an additional $300,000 a year from donors, the channel will go dark within months if the city's funds are eliminated, said Carla Carlini, general manager of LA36. The channel is owned by Los Angeles Cable Television Access Corp., a non-profit.

"I knew that the city was facing a crisis and we had been working on what we could do to reduce costs but we never expected this," Carlini said. "There is just no way that we can continue operating without any help."

Carlini said that she isn't going down without a fight and promised to take up the matter with the city's budget committee.

Besides providing educational courses for local teachers and students, LA36 also airs and records live concerts as part of its "Live at the Ford" series and produces live and recorded local high school basketball, baseball and football games. Without LA36, local high school sports will no longer be available on local cable television, Carlini said.

Meanwhile, city-funded Channel 35, which broadcasts City Council and other city government related meetings, appears to have been spared the axe by the mayor. It received no recommended funding cuts.

Zaz Pizazz

National Lampoon Inc.'s Humor Network, a group of Web sites geared toward college-age men from 18-24, has remained the No. 1 online humor destination site since its inception two years ago.

Now, the Los Angeles-based comedy company is going after college-age women with a new online celebrity site called the Zaz Report.

"Our advertisers played a large role in why we decided to create the Zaz Report," said Daniel Laikin, chief executive of National Lampoon. "They wanted to target a young female audience and that's what we designed the Zaz Report to do."

While not quite as in-your-face as the hugely successful TMZ.com celebrity site, the Zaz Report will offer its own brand of humorous entertainment news, gossip and cheeky interviews.

The Zaz Report launched last week with pre-recorded video reports, breaking news blogs, celebrity interviews, skits and parodies involving in-house National Lampoon staffers such as Nadine Rajabi and Matt Zaller.

"Nadine has a way of looking at comedy from a young female's perspective," Laikin said.

Rajabi hosts a daily V-log, "Daily Quickie with Nads," which gives a satirical alternative breakdown on the day's celebrity news, poking fun at celebs such as Coolio and Paris Hilton.

Zaller has been known for his tongue-in-cheek interviews with top celebrities like Robin Williams, Lindsey Lohan and Johnny Depp.

Best known for its "Animal House," "Van Wilder" and "National Lampoon Vacation" film franchises, National Lampoon has been acquiring and launching several new Web sites recently in an effort to capitalize on the migration of ad dollars to the Web.

The rollout of Zaz Report follows last year's launch of the National Lampoon Splog, a sports comedy blog, along with the acquisitions of DrunkUniversity.com, CollegeHangover.com, and Comedy Express.

Bayou-State Bound

Taking advantage of Louisiana's 25 percent tax credit on film-related projects that invest more than $300,000 in the state, Los Angeles-based Nu Image/Millennium Films has decided to pick up stakes and move to what has been dubbed "Hollywood South."

The independent studio is breaking ground on a 20-acre studio in Shreveport, La., with three soundstages. Once completed, it will be able to handle three to six productions with 100 to 500 workers at a time.

The studio chose the state as its production home after shooting four productions there, including "Mad Money" and the upcoming "Cleaner."

Staff Reporter Brett Sporich can be reached at bsporich@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 226

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