After making big content deals with stars like Tim Burton and David Lynch, Shockwave.com has decided to change its focus from big celebrity toon deals to interactive games. Shockwave receives most of its hits in its game section. As part of the new move Shockwave has laid off 20 employees in its San Francisco and Los Angeles offices. Production on content in the works, such as programs from Oscar-winning producer/director James L. Brooks and game show host Ben Stein, will continue until the lay off becomes effective in October. Some production staff will be kept on as independent contractors to complete the production of these previously signed celebrity deals. Shockwave is not commenting on the future of these shows after they are launched. The new focus should not affect current outsourced content like Mondo Medias THUGS ON FILM or Stan Lee Medias 7TH PORTAL. Sources say that since former Pixar CFO Lawrence Levy became Shockwaves CEO he has been trying to balance the companys spending on big celebrity deals to stabilize the business in IPO preparation. So far the high-profile deals havent launched and in fact some of the content already completed is too edgy to be shown to younger visitors, which the site hopes to attract to its interactive games. For instance, when SOUTH PARK creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone showed off their first toon to the Netcaster, its content caused concern and even had Shockwave officials contemplating a pay-per-view format for its release [AWN 3/24/2000]. Indeed, these new toons from the duo have yet to premiere. Therefore in the dark shadow of DreamWorks failure with Pop.com and Shockwaves new direction, the future of animation on the Web may be less secure.