Advertisements
jump to navigation

The Fall of G4TV, Part 2 September 26, 2010

Posted by Maniac in Histories, The Fall of G4.
3 comments

If you look in your digital channel lineup you can find a little station on the list somewhere between MTV2 and Encore called G4 or G4TV. You’ll also note that the schedule for that station will likely only include reruns of Cops and Cheaters. If I told you, and you didn’t know any better, you probably wouldn’t believe that station used to be the premiere station for gaming coverage. You’ll probably also wonder if they were a station for gaming coverage why do they only show reruns of Cops and Cheaters, as well as a few other international shows nobody cares about. Well, it’s a story that goes back a long time, but I have no problem telling you it. It’s a sad story with a very sad ending, but just like with Halo Reach, even though you know how it ends from the beginning, it’s still a story you want to hear

It was 2004 and a corporate merger was coming to G4, Comcast intended to buy the station out and merge it with another of their stations, Tech TV, to maximize profits. Now, obviously since Comcast bought two stations which covered subjects the new suits knew absolutely nothing about and which in reality had very little in common, by forcing them together the outcome was going to be bad, REALLY bad.

During the merger, all of the shows from both of the stations were now fair game for cancellation. Ratings were not even factored into the decision, and no show was left untouched. If it wasn’t cancelled immediately, it was changed. If it wasn’t changed it was recast. It was a complete shakedown and no one was safe from it.

The host of Cheat changed from a competent yet nerdy guy to a supermodel in a miniskirt who looked more at ease doing weather for football games. The 2001-esque MMO show would not be renewed. G4TV.com, G4’s staple show, would eventually get cancelled, as would the majority of G4’s prime programming including Arena, Pulse, and Cinematech. Icons shifted from covering gaming company histories to biographies of people who had nothing to do with gaming like Mark Eko. But no show would get it as bad as Tech TV’s The Screen Savers which got its focus shifted, then completely recast by incompetent people who had no tech intelligence, then cancelled. It is now called “Attack of the Show”, and has changed its focus more times than I can count.

Not too long after the rebranding or cancellation of a lot of the shows their fans loved, the dedicated fans of the station stopped watching. I’m sure that corporate assumed that new people would start watching the station, but of course they didn’t. Instead of restoring the shows to their former glory to bring the old fans back, the shows instead were terminated from the lineups, not even showing reruns anymore. It became a systematic glassing of the station, leaving a massive scar in the form of a G which would not go away because the shows never came back.

About the only survivors of the complete glassing of the station’s shows was Tech TV’s X-Play (not a terrible show but it’s disappointing that was the only show they kept) which was now expanded to cover more than just gaming reviews but also gaming news and previews. The former glory of an entire station which previously was covered by an entire lineup of shows was basically crammed into one show which only aired twice a day. The other survivor was Kevin Pereira who was promoted to host what idiot writers assumed was geek culture.

Nowadays G4 is just another channel I flick past. With no more decent original programming anymore, there’s just no reason to watch it. Occasionally there’s a glimmer of the station that it once was when you see live E3 coverage once a year, and you get the briefest reminder that this used to be a station that gamers watched. The G in G4 is supposed to mean TV for Gamers, not syndicated reruns of shows only enjoyed by lowest common denominator.

Advertisements

The Fall of G4TV, Part 1 September 26, 2010

Posted by Maniac in Histories, The Fall of G4.
3 comments

If you look in your digital channel lineup you can find a little station on the list somewhere between MTV2 and Encore called G4 or G4TV.  You’ll also note that the schedule for that station will likely only include reruns of Cops and Cheaters.  If I told you, and you didn’t know any better, you probably wouldn’t believe that station used to be the premiere station for gaming coverage.  You’ll probably also wonder if they were a station for gaming coverage why do they only show reruns of Cops and Cheaters, as well as a few other international shows nobody cares about.  Well, it’s a story that goes back a long time, but I have no problem telling you it.  It’s a sad story with a very sad ending, but just like with Halo Reach, even though you know how it ends from the beginning, it’s still a story you want to hear.

When the station was first designed they had a lineup of entirely original shows based upon each individual gaming archetype.  Trust me, any gamer could easily find something on the schedule that they liked to watch.  Icons focused on the history of video game companies or major events like the crash of 1982 (their finest episode).  Cheat gave tips and pointers to recent games, sometimes focusing on one game in particular.  Arena, which took two teams of players and had them battle in Mechwarrior  on a LAN, (although their rules were pretty terrible and there were other games than Mechwarrior they could’ve played). There was a news show which had the latest gaming news of the day.  Judgment Day, a review show which introduced the world to Tommy Tallarico and Victor Lucas.  For video connoisseurs there was Cinematech, which had the latest trailers and opening cinematics for games. There was an MMO show with a 2001 vibe and very MST3K humor whose name I cannot remember.  Then of course there was the televised talk radio show G4TV.com, which was one of the best shows in existence starring gaming writers Tina Wood and Laura Foy.

It was a great time.  I can name tons of people who want to see their original series released to DVD.  I missed about 80 percent of its heyday because my parents refused to upgrade to digital cable due to the technical limitations at the time, but when high-speed internet was finally made available in my area three years after everyone else could get it, at that point they had no choice because I got them a really good price.  Once we got it installed I would not change the channel.

The great time was not to last and a dark time was on the horizon for the station in the form of a corporate merger, and I’ll talk about all of that in Part 2.  Stay tuned!