A Timeline: Former Maker Head Danny Zappin Sues Ex-Girlfriend Lisa Nova — Where Did the Love Go?

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Danny Zappin and Lisa Donovan (LisaNova) have spent a lot of time as lovebirds — so it came as more than a little surprise when Zappin filed his lawsuit against his apparently ex-paramour and business partner in Maker Studios. And you thought things were ugly before …

While not much is publicized about “Danny and Lisa’s Relationship: The Early Years” (after all, NMR is the magazine of note for this sort of gossip and we’ve only been around since 2011), they have been a couple since before YouTube’s inception and were frequently seen as one of the web community’s premiere “power couples.” Though at one point they were engaged to be married, the Maker split and resulting lawsuit has put a sort of crimp in their plans. But how did such a long-lasting couple come to this?

Let’s take a look back through the LisaNova and Danny Zappin timeline and see what sticks out.


1994-96: Danny Zappin is at The Ohio State University but drops out with designs to become an actor.


Circa 1998-2001: Lisa Donovan moves from Scarsdale, New York to attend University of Colorado, Boulder.


1999: Danny scores bit part in “Summer of Sam.”

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Circa 2000: Danny goes to jail on felony drug possession.


2001: Danny takes gig as director of videos for “CrapTV.com.”


Circa 2003: Lisa moves to Los Angeles, meets a director for “CrapTV.com” who doubtlessly has bigger ambitions.


February, 2005: YouTube happens. And it is good.


2006: According to Danny’s IMDB page, he “convinced Lisa to start her own YouTube channel.”


2007: With the success of Lisa’s channel LisaNova, the lovebirds start Zappin Productions. Possible company mottos could include, “Magic happens at Zappin’s” or “Zappin Productions is our name AND our mission.”


2007: Lisa is hired for “MadTV” — only slightly more prestigious than bit part in “Summer of Sam.” Lisa leaves show after only appearing in four episodes.

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2009: Ambitious Zappin and LisaNova start “The Station,” a hub for creators to make videos.


2009: Ambitious Zappin and LisaNova promptly forget about “The Station,” start Maker Studios — a hub for creators to make videos.


2010: Nostalgic Zappin and LisaNova relaunch “The Station.”


2011: “The Station” closes … again. But it does that thing where the camera zooms up to reveal dead company’s eyes snap open — end credits.


2012: Maker Studios scores huge-ass payday with $36 million in funding from venture capitalists — Lamborghinis-with-monster-truck-wheels for all!


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June 18th, 2012: NPR runs article on Zappin and LisaNova, calls them married — has to print retraction that they are actually only “engaged.” Ahh, love.


December 2012: NMR does badass expose about Ray William Johnson leaving Maker; Johnson exposes that whole “felony thing” along with threats from Zappin.

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May 7th, 2013: Zappin steps down as CEO of Maker, dispensing “good will and pleasantries” as he goes. Was probably that “Summer of Sam” business that did him in. I wonder if RWJ is hiring?


June 26th, 2013: Zappin sues Maker Studios over “constructive fraud.” LisaNova is named as a co-defendant. The honeymoon is over before the marriage.


June 28th, 2013: And yes, inside sources have confirmed that the two are no longer together. So set your tongues to “wagging.”

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