->''"...As people are starting to wonder why there isn't a station about video games and why there really now is one less show about video games that are out there...When no one watches, things get cancelled."''
-->--'''Adam Sessler''', [[https://youtu.be/H376pZtwg1M?list=PLWnpHOQXsPDujN8SR1vpcsgInhRGPMG_o on the demise]] of ''X-Play'' and G4.

G4, also known as [=G4TV=], was a television network known for two things: a focus on [[VideoGames video games]] and geek culture, and one of the more infamous cases of [[NetworkDecay network decay]]. The network went through some [[TroubledProduction serious growing pains in trying to find an audience and gain ratings and advertisers.]] In the end, G4 was a failed exercise in OldMediaPlayingCatchUp in television channel form; the network's demise became one of the most tragic cable stories since FNN (the Financial News Network) was sold for parts to CNBC in 1992.

The Comcast-owned channel was launched in April 2002 by Charles Hirschhorn. The lineup entirely consisted of gaming-related shows such as ''Arena'' (a multi-player gaming competition show), ''[=G4TV.com=]'' (an interactive talk show connected with the website), ''Cheat!'' (a show dedicated to cheat codes and walkthroughs; think Website/{{GameFAQs}} on TV), and reruns of ''Series/{{Starcade}}''. The channel struggled to find viewers and get into more homes since the only major carrier with G4 was Comcast's own cable service. In 2004, Comcast bought out Creator/TechTV, a beloved network, carried on more systems, that focused on computers and technology, then merged the two networks into [=G4TechTV=], a move which gave G4 all of [=TechTV=]'s channel slots on the various cable carriers. Originally this was pitched to the viewing public as a merger of two cable channels with similar missions, but the truth was that all G4 truly wanted of [=TechTV=] was their more widespread carriage by other providers. Behind the scenes, the new executive brass gave all of [=TechTV's=] cast and crew an ultimatum: Move to Los Angeles, or be let go. Most of them decided they'd rather leave. The [=TechTV=] branding was flushed out in less than a year's time, with only ''Series/XPlay'' (and its hosts), ''The Screen Savers'' (soon to become ''Series/AttackOfTheShow''), and ''Unscrewed with Martin Sargent'' the only [=TechTV=] shows surviving the merger. The death of [=TechTV=] alienated that network's fans-- ironically enough, part of the audience that G4 was trying to reach.

Neal Tiles became G4's network president in 2005, and he immediately tried to broaden the channel's scope into a more general male-oriented channel in the vein of Creator/SpikeTV. During his time in charge, G4 obtained more off-network reruns -- including the much-maligned ''Series/{{Cops}}'' and ''Cheaters'' -- to fill schedule time. ''Unscrewed'' did not last much longer after this - it was cancelled after it's creative team was resistant to changes in the format. This was also the time in which ''Attack of the Show!'' brought on Creator/OliviaMunn as a co-host and became an Internet/pop/geek culture sensation, while ''X-Play'' began to cover all of video game culture. ''WesternAnimation/CodeMonkeys'', a cartoon that parodied 1980s video game culture, became a CultClassic amongst the G4 fanbase. And ''Series/NinjaWarrior'' became the network's highest-rated show. Despite the growing fanbase, the network still had issues behind the scenes. Layoffs continued as a cost-cutting measure and the G4 studios were relocated to the same building as Creator/{{E}} and the Style Network (and downsized, to boot). By this point, the off-network reruns were becoming more and more of what aired on the channel, causing ratings to plunge. In November 2010, [=DirecTV=] dropped G4 as a whole, justifying the move by pointing at the network's low ratings.

In 2012, Comcast finalized a merger with [=NBCUniversal=], and G4 gained a new network president in Adam Stotsky, who came in with plans to completely rebrand the channel once again. Long-time G4 personalities Adam Sessler (''X-Play'') and Kevin Periera (''Attack of the Show'') left the network admist the rumors of rebranding. (Olivia Munn had already left in 2010 to pursue what would become a successful acting career.) Not long after Sessler and Periera's departure, their respective flagship shows were cancelled; they ended their runs on the 23rd of January 2013, which brought to an end all G4 studio programming. Stotsky planned to rebrand G4 as "The Esquire Network" as part of a partnership with pop culture magazine ''Esquire''. When the time came for the network's re-launch, G4 was replaced with...[[AllForNothing nothing!]] [[Film/{{UHF}} Absolutely nothing]]!

[=NBCUniversal=] originally set the Esquire Network's initial launch date on April 22, 2013. A lack of original programming for the new channel forced a delay to September 2013. Then, the entire re-brand strategy changed when [[http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/nbcu-switch-up-esquire-network-624127 [=NBCUniversal=] decided to replace Style Network instead]]-- by that point, Style had broader carriage than G4, given that it was still on [=DirecTV=], and it was too similar to NBCU's other two women-focused networks (E! and Oxygen). [[labelnote: What happened to Style/Esquire...]]Despite the hype behind the relaunch, [[http://www.wwd.com/media-news/fashion-memopad/petit-public-7327408?src=nl/mornReport/20131231 Nielsen could not measure the initial ratings for the Esquire Network]] because said ratings were too low to meet a "minimum reporting standard". The low ratings continued, and three major television providers (Dish Network, [=AT&T=] U-Verse, and [=DirecTV=]) dropped Esquire in late 2016. [=NBCU=] would then shutter the network and relaunch it as a digital-only platform on Esquire's website. Esquire's last broadcast day was June 28, 2017.[[/labelnote]]

Comcast removed G4 from '''its own''' cable systems starting in January 2014, following the lead of several major cable providers that had dropped it earlier. Throughout 2014, only [=AT&T=] U-Verse and a few other small cable providers carried the channel, solely to fulfill contracts with Comcast and [=NBCU=]. Those agreements expired on the last minute of the 31st of December 2014, Eastern time. By this point, G4's programming consisted almost entirely of reruns of ''Series/{{Airwolf}},'' ''Campus PD,'' and ''Series/WebSoup.'' G4's last hours consisted of the five-part ''The Top 100 Video Games of All Time'' special, with the very last show aired being the first episode of ''X-Play.'' The network signed off with a game of ''VideoGame/{{Pong}}'' ([[BookEnds referencing when G4 launched with all-week]] ''Pong'' games) that slowly shrunk and filled with a grey color, followed by a sound clip of Creator/KevinPereira shouting "I'M AT COMIC-CON!!!" (a possible allusion to G4 dying and going to "nerd heaven") as the dot shut off like an analog TV alongside ''Donkey Kong''[='=]s death bloops from the Atari 2600 and the Game Boy start-up chime. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIaPvsrUG8w You can see G4's symbolic "Game Over" for yourself on YouTube.]]

On August 31, 2017, the Canadian version of G4 was finally shut down, ending ''more than two years'' after the U.S. channel shuttered, thus completely removing any trace of G4 from the airwaves. [=G4TV.com=] still exists, but only as a neglected skeletal portal that hosts the network schedule, a freemium game portal, and the network's now-dormant social media presence. [[http://www.syfygames.com/news Syfy's freemium gaming website]] started a news and videos section with the G4 branding, presumably so [=NBCU=] could retain the trademarks.

''Series/AmericanNinjaWarrior'' is the sole surviving G4 original series. The show moved to Creator/{{NBC}} before G4's rebranding and ultimate demise. That show is no longer produced by G4's quasi-parent company, G4 Media, which now exists only to maintain the [=TechTV=] and G4 program libraries. In 2017, Creator/DisneyXD launched their D/XP block with content produced by former ''X-Play'' producer Wade Beckett and hosts Kevin Pereira (who produces ''WebVideo/TheAttack'', a SpiritualSuccessor to ''Attack of the Show!'') and Blair Herter. Several former ''X-Play'' staff created and produce ''Bits and Bytes'' over on Website/{{Facebook}}.