National Lampoon to launch women's Web site network

The comedy brand will be expanding its Web presence through 8228, a network of gossip and entertainment sites for women.

Could the company that brought you this cinematic classic manage to create a successful women's Web site network? National Lampoon

Comedy house National Lampoon, which has brought the entertainment world everything from Animal House to the more recent Van Wilder, is courting the babes. A Media Week article details the brand's impending launch of 8228, the latest addition to the online National Lampoon Humor Network, which is a network of gossip and entertainment sites for a female audience.

We're guessing the tone will be a little different from TeamSugar or iVillage.

Expanding its Web presence is inherently a good move for National Lampoon: Van Wilder was a hit on DVD among the college crowd, but the once-iconic comedy brand has been largely eclipsed at the box office by such "Frat Pack" hits as Old School and Wedding Crashers, and more recently the phenomenon of Judd Apatow-affiliated "bromances" like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up. And apparently, the Lampoon has thus far been successful in its digital initiatives--the formation of a network of college-oriented media sites, including the purchase of DrunkUniversity.com earlier this year, has helped to boost its Web traffic, and some viral buzz has ensued from a fake movie trailer about two dumb college students who pledge a frat called 'Alpha Qaeda.'

Launching a targeted set of "gossip and entertainment" sites for women, however, has the potential for disaster. Many female Web users just don't like being pigeonholed; Gawker Media's Jezebel blog has turned out to be a surprising success, but the company was walking a fine line by launching a brand specifically geared toward women. As Jossip puts it with regard to 8228, "We're thinking Animal House meets The Vagina Monologues. We're also thinking, 'This is National Lampoon's worst idea since Van Wilder 2: The Rise Of Taj.'" Couldn't have put it better myself.

In any case, let's hope they don't make it pink.

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