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Creator: G4TV
Zodd: Don't you think we can do a little better than DTV?
Phil: Why, what's wrong with DTV? It's television for demons, we're demons — it's perfect.
Zodd: Yeah, but you know how these specialty cable networks are: they start out real good, but then they lose their focus and things go downhill real quick. Just look at what happened to G4!

G4 (also known as G4TV) was a television network known for its focus on video games and geek culture, and infamously associated with network decay. Since the inception of the network, it had gone through some serious growing pains trying to find an audience and gain ratings and advertisers. Simply put, the channel is Old Media Playing Catch-Up in television channel form.

The Comcast-owned channel was launched on April 24, 2002 by Charles Hirschhorn. The lineup entirely consisted of gaming related shows such as Arena (featuring multi-player gaming competitions), (interactive talk show connected with the website), and Cheat! (cheat codes and walkthroughs; think GameFAQs on TV). The channel was struggling to find viewers and get into more homes, as it wasn't available on many cable/satellite providers.

In 2004, Comcast bought out Tech TV (a low-rated, but beloved technology/computer based channel) and merged the channels into G4TechTV, gaining TechTV's channel slots on different providers. Much of the TechTV identity and brand was flushed out, saved for X-Play and its hosts, The Screen Savers (which would later become Attack of the Show!), and Unscrewed with Martin Sargent. The merger lasted less than a year before the channel was changed back into G4, but not without gaining infamy with the TechTV fans and much of the audience the channel was aimed towards. Despite the huge amounts of change and upheaval, the network still managed to have a dedicated fanbase for the original G4 programming and personalities.

In 2005, Neal Tiles was named the new network president. He attempted to broaden the channel's scope into a general male-oriented channel in the vein of Spike TV. During his reign, more off-network reruns started to air such as the much-maligned Cops and Cheaters repeats. However, this was also the period Attack of the Show! and X-Play hit their strides and became the flagship shows of the channel. Attack of the Show! hired a new co-host Olivia Munn, and became an Internet/pop/geek culture sensation and X-Play broadened its scope to encompass all of video game culture. Ninja Warrior became the network's highest rated show. Despite all of this, there was still struggling behind the scenes. Layoffs continued to save money, the studios were relocated to same building with E! and the Style Network and downsized. And then on November 1, 2010, DirecTV dropped the channel from its lineup, saying that the ratings didn't justify carrying it.note 

Then, in 2012, the final shoe dropped. With the Comcast/NBCUniversal merger, G4 gained yet another new president Adam Stotsky (who works with Bonnie Hammer, who is associated with the Sci-Fi Channel's network decay). Adam Sessler and Kevin Periera, two long time hosts, left the network (Munn already left in 2010). The two flagship shows, X-Play and Attack of the Show! were cancelled and ended their runs on January 23, 2013, effectively ending all G4 studio programming. The network was to be rebranded into the Esquire Network on September 23, 2013, with Esquire magazine as the partner. The new network is a more upscale men's network, and focuses more on cooking, travel and fashion.

So time passed and the big day arrived. G4, by that point became a channel on a robo-feed, going through it's library of original programming, acquisitions, and year-old X-Play re-runs. After all the promotions about the Esquire Network and the firings and cancellations, G4 was replaced with... nothing! Absolutely nothing! It turned out that NBCUniversal decided to use Esquire Network to replace Style Network instead of G4 because it had a broader carriage than G4 (DirecTV carried Style Network but not G4). Comcast began removinng G4 from some of its systems in January 2014, although several cable providers such as Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Verizon FiOS, and Dish Network dropped it early. Not to mention there are a lot of angry Style Network fans miffed about the 11th hour switch to Esquire Network. So essentially, they tossed aside one and a half channels or in layman's terms, they wasted a perfectly good network.

As of 2014, only AT&T U-Verse and a few other smaller cable providers still carry the channel, due to carrier contracts. The channel now exists as a vault channel as syndication deals for LOST, Heroes, and Cops have ended. The schedule primarily shows moldy-old episodes of X-Play, the Marvel Anime shows, Web Soup, and other G4 originals; all while running advertisements for the Esquire Network. The website now hosts free-to-play MMO web games. The channel space that G4 once occupied was eventually filled by an African-American network known as Uplifting Entertainment on the major carriers. Meanwhile, possible spiritual successors to G4, such as ScrewAttack, Normal Boots, and Game Sack exist online. And American Ninja Warrior is the last remaining remnant of the channel that airs on NBC and Esquire Network.

And for the few G4 die-hards out there, here's some cold comfort: the ratings for the Esquire Network can't even be measured by Nielsen because they're "too low to meet its “minimum-reporting standard."

alternative title(s): G4; G 4 TV
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