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The Fall of G4TV, Part 2 September 26, 2010

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

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