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G4, also known as G4 TV, is an American television network, originally geared primarily toward young male adult viewers, originally based on the world of video games. Currently the channel has a male oriented focus, although video games are still represented by the channel. Its major competitor is TechTV
Launched on April 24, 2002, G4 is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, United States, and owned by G4 Media, which is owned by NBCUniversal, whom Comcast acquired 51% of in early 2011.
Under Charles Hirschhorn
The channel was launched on April 24, 2002 under the ownership of Comcast. The initial concept was to create a service similar to TechTV but "geared more toward MTV's demographics" (young adults). The channel was launched with the following shows:
- Arena: a multi-player game competition between two teams of four players.
- Filter: a top-ten countdown voted by viewers.
- Blister: focused on action/adventure game news.
- Cinematech: described as a showcase for the best high-end digital art.
- Game On: two hosts competed in video game action come to life with dire consequences for the loser.
- Sweat: focused on sports game news.
- Cheat!: tips and cheat codes on video games.
- Portal: focused on multiplayer online games.
- Pulse: news on the video-game industry.
- Judgment Day: currently known as Reviews on the Run, "two video-game gurus will opine on the latest entries."
- G4tv.com: an interactive talk show on video games.
Under Charles Hirschhorn
G4 was created and originally led by Charles Hirschhorn, a former president of Walt Disney Television and Television Animation. He expected video game creators themselves to eventually produce programming for the channel. He envisioned that G4 could follow in the footsteps of MTV, which in his opinion provided music video producers with a venue for non-traditional television programming. Hirschhorn intended G4 to become a vehicle for unconventional advertising. In 2002, G4 offered advertisers wide latitude to place their products on G4's programs, and even allowing their commercials to appear as if they were a part of the program. G4 also offered what was called a "2 minute unit", which was an advertising package played as if it were part of a G4 program that was long enough to run an entire movie trailer. G4 also offered to sell the right to have a game showcased on the show Pulse.
On March 25, 2004, Vulcan Inc. announced that G4 Media would acquire MobyGames and merge it with G4. The combined gaming catalog website was branded G4MobyGames. Days before the announced sale, Comcast made plans to close the original MobyGames headquarters in Englewood, Colorado and offered new headquarters in Los Angeles, California with openings for 480 to 500 MobyGames employees available if they were willing to relocate. Hirschhorn headed the combined entity.
On February 15, 2005, less than a year after the merger, "MobyGames" was officially dropped from the gaming catalog site's name in the U.S. and the site became known as G4 Gaming Catalogs. G4's programs and branding remained constant until a new logo for G4 was introduced in 2005.
Under Neal Tiles
In September 2005, Neal Tiles replaced Hirschhorn as the channel's president. Tiles had previously been a senior marketing executive at DirecTV, Fox Sports and ESPN. He announced that G4 would be retooled as a male-oriented channel, stating that "guys like to play games, but not necessarily watch a bunch of shows with games on the screen".
Comcast announced on October 12, 2006, that it would consolidate its west coast entertainment operations, including G4, E! and Style into a new group headed by Ted Harbert, who had formerly run E!. It was announced that the upper management of the G4 channel would relocate to E!'s Los Angeles office. Harbert gave his opinion at the time that the focus of the channel on "gaming has been demonstrated as being too narrow." He also gave assurances that while G4 might change, it would not become extinct.
On March 4, 2007, it was announced that the G4 Studios in Santa Monica, California, would close on April 15. Production of G4 programs was relocated to the Comcast Entertainment Group facility, which housed E! and Style Network, in the Wilshire Courtyard complex in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles (G4's original facility remains in use as an E! studio and office facility and was utilized by Chelsea Lately and After Lately until their October 2012 move to Universal Studios Hollywood). As a consequence, many G4 employees involved in production were terminated. The sets of G4's original programs were also redesigned to fit within the new smaller spaces allocated to them.
In April 2007, G4, in association with Earth911, launched an electronic-waste-recycling campaign called Gcycle. After Comcast acquired NBCUniversal in 2011 (effectively integrating G4 and the other Comcast Entertainment Group channels into NBCUniversal), Gcycle became part of the company's "Green is Universal" initiative.
In June 2008, G4 launched G4 Rewind, a block that showed older episodes of X-Play, Judgment Day, Cheat, G4tv.com, Arena, Portal, G4's Training Camp and GameMakers. G4 Rewind left the schedule at the end of that summer and returned for daytime reruns for older episodes of X-Play in June 2009 until January 2010.
On February 17, 2009, it was reported that G4 intended to cut back its original programming. X-Play would be reduced to three nights a week while Attack of the Show! would be cut to four nights a week. Consequently, a number of the staff and production crew involved in the shows would be laid off. Layla Kayleigh also left G4 in April 2009 after Neal Tiles announced that her contract would not be renewed.
In May 2009, G4's website was completely redesigned with a more prominent role of gaming as the intended purpose. Since the redesign of the website, G4's blog, TheFeed, had been overhauled as well. On July 31, a new web video game discussion series, TheFeed: Nightcap debuted. On August 28, 2009 TheFeed Nightcap was renamed Feedback.
It was announced during Comic-Con 2010 that G4 would be the exclusive broadcaster of Marvel Anime, which aried in 2011. During the week of July 26-August 1, 2010, G4 changed its logo to 4G as a promotion for Sprint Nextel's next generation wireless internet service.On November 1, 2010, DirecTV announced that it had removed G4 from its channel lineup, citing low interest in their subscriber base and Nielsen ratings as the primary reason for dropping of the channel. DirecTV commented that it was "...unable to reach an agreement to continue carrying the G4 channel and it has been removed from the DirecTV channel lineup." On October 30, 2010, Attack of the Show! host Kevin Pereira echoed Comcast's sentiments about the decision, stating that "G4 has offered DirectTV [sic] the same basic deal they have had for the last three years, but DirecTV has rejected this claiming that they do not see the value in G4." It was reported that the UFC and WWE were in separate talks to buy G4 in 2011. Talks with both companies apparently fell through, and UFC eventually partnered with Fox, while WWE is in the process of launching their own network.
Under Adam Stotsky
On January 5, 2012, Neal Tiles stepped down as CEO. He was replaced by former NBC marketing chief Adam Stotsky. Long-time employees Adam Sessler and Kevin Pereira left the network during the first half of 2012 (Sessler now works at Revision 3 Games). On May 20, 2012, G4 was given a graphical overhaul, still utilizing the current G4 logo, except the bug has moved to the bottom right corner instead of the top, and made translucent. The logo was also rendered in 3D for on-air promotions. This overhaul also discontinued "The Feed" ticker, and the "G-Spot" shorts shown during commercial breaks. The network's syndication agreement for Cheaters ended in December 2012.
G4 HD is a high definition simulcast feed of G4 that broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format, it launched on December 8, 2008, alongside the entire suite of Comcast Entertainment Group networks at the time. It is carried nationally on Dish Network and regionally on AT&T U-verse, Cablevision, among other providers in select areas.
A Canadian channel called G4 Canada was launched in 2009. It has a focus on technology and video game-related programming. However, both channels deviated considerably from their original roots, although there is still connection between the two channels since many of G4's current programs, including newer series such as That's Tough (which no longer airs as of April 2012), Bomb Patrol Afghanistan, Web Soup, Campus PD and Proving Ground do air on G4 Canada. G4 Canada also airs older (and often, out-of-date) tech content such as The Lab with Leo Laporte to meet their channel content requirements under Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission guidelines in off-peak periods. Some of their programming blocks parallel each other, such as the Anime Unleashed block paralleling G4 Canada's Anime Current block, and the Midnight Spank block paralleling the ADd block.
With the American network rebranding soon, it is unknown if the Canadian G4 will retain its current ident or follow suit, though the network's CRTC remit requires it to maintain tech content, and the network has had to roll back some of its male-targeted programming in the past due to CRTC concerns.
- Kristin Adams, host of Cheat!, formerly a G4 series now only a segment on X-Play
- Candace Bailey, co-host of Attack of the Show!
- Blair Butler, comic book correspondent for "Fresh Ink" on Attack of the Show!
- Jessica Chobot, correspondent for X-Play and Attack of the Show!
- Chris Gore, movie correspondent for "DVDuesday" on Attack of the Show!
- Grace Helbig, correspondent for Attack of the Show!
- Blair Herter, co-host of X-Play and correspondent for Attack of the Show!
- Matt Iseman, co-host of American Ninja Warrior
- Matt Mira, correspondent for "Gadget Pr0n" on Attack of the Show!
- Jonny Moseley, co-host of American Ninja Warrior
- Casey Schreiner, host of the MMO Report on X-Play, writer on Attack of the Show!
- Weston Scott, military correspondent of "Lethal Defense" on Attack of the Show!
- Alex Sim-Wise, correspondent for X-Play and Attack of the Show!
- Angela Sun, correspondent for American Ninja Warrior
- Sara Underwood, host of Women of Ninja Warrior, and anchor of "The Feed" on Attack of the Show!
- Morgan Webb, co-host of X-Play
- TV 4 Gamers (2002–2004)
- Stay Connected (2004–2005)
- Video Game TV (2005–2006)
- TV That's Plugged In (2007–2012)
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