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-> '''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. [[NetworkDecay Just look at what happened to G4!]]''
-->-- ''WebVideo/BerserkAbridged''

G4 (also known as [=G4TV=]) was a television network known for its focus on [[VideoGames video games]] and geek culture, and infamously associated with [[NetworkDecay network decay]]. Since the inception of the network, it had gone through some [[TroubledProduction serious growing pains trying to find an audience and gain ratings and advertisers.]] Simply put, the channel was a failed exercise in OldMediaPlayingCatchUp in television channel form and its death was 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 on April 24, 2002 by Charles Hirschhorn. The lineup entirely consisted of gaming related shows such as ''Arena'' (featuring multi-player gaming competitions), ''[=G4TV.com=]'' (interactive talk show connected with the website), ''Cheat!'' (cheat codes and walkthroughs; think Website/{{GameFAQs}} on TV), and reruns of ''Series/{{Starcade}}''. The channel was struggling to find viewers and get into more homes, as it wasn't available on many cable/satellite providers. The long {{Infomercial}}-like presentations of video game trailers didn't really help much, either.

In 2004, Comcast bought out [[Creator/TechTV [=TechTV=]]] (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 ''Series/XPlay'' and its hosts, ''The Screen Savers'' (which would later become ''[[Series/AttackOfTheShow 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 Creator/SpikeTV. During his reign, more off-network reruns started to air such as the much-maligned ''Series/{{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 Creator/OliviaMunn, and became an Internet/pop/geek culture sensation and ''X-Play'' broadened its scope to encompass all of video game culture. ''WesternAnimation/CodeMonkeys'' was an 8-bit parody of the 80s and video gaming, and ''Series/NinjaWarrior'' 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 Creator/{{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]][=DirecTV=] subscribers might also notice that several other networks in the Comcast/[=NBCUniversal=] umbrella had moved to higher tiers in 2012 so this might have to do with carriage fees more than anything.[[/note]] By 2012, only Fuel TV, an extreme sports network which eventually became Fox Sports 2, had lower measurable ratings than G4 among cable networks which had their ratings measured.

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 [[Creator/{{Syfy}} Sci-Fi Channel]]'s network decay). Adam Sessler and Kevin Periera, two long time hosts, left the network (Munn already left in 2010 for a successful acting career). 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 with ''Esquire'' magazine as the partner. However in late 2013, it was decided that Esquire Network would take over the Style Network's channel space, leaving G4 as a "zombie" channel that just looped its own programming and direct-to-consumer ads with the loneliest phone lines in the industry. [[http://xfinity.comcast.net/learn/programming/ Comcast removed G4 from all of its systems beginning in January 2014]], with several cable providers such as Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Verizon [=FiOS=], and Dish Network dropping it earlier. Throughout 2013 and 2014, only [=AT&T=] U-Verse and a few other small cable providers carried the channel to fulfill their contracts to Comcast and NBC until the last minute of December 31, 2014.

The last programming day's hours consisted of the 5-part ''The Top 100 Video Games of All Time'' special, followed by the first episode of ''X-Play'', the last show to air on the network. The channel's final sign-off was a game of ''VideoGame/{{Pong}}'' ([[BookEnds referencing when G4 launched with all-week]] ''Pong'' games) that slowly shrunk and filled with a grey color. Then, a sound clip of ''AOTS'' host Kevin Pereira shouting "I'M AT COMIC-CON!!!" was played (possibly alluding to G4 dying and going to "nerd heaven"), as the dot shut off like an analog TV alongside ''Pong''[='=]s end-match bloops and the Game Boy start-up chime, symbolically ending the network with a GameOver. If you wanna experience it for yourself, click [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIaPvsrUG8w right here.]]

The Esquire Network went through its own DevelopmentHell[=/=]TroubledProduction period. The channel's initial launch date was April 22, 2013 but that date was changed to the lack of programming made and it's launch date was moved September 23, 2013. But then the entire rebrand strategy changed when [[http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/nbcu-switch-up-esquire-network-624127 [=NBCUniversal=] decided to replace Style Network instead]], because Style had more broader carriage than G4 and because it was too similar to NBCU's other two women-focused networks, E! and Oxygen. This was announced with ''very'' little notice, you can imagine the fury amongst Style Network's fans. So in the end G4 was replaced with...[[ScrewedByTheNetwork Nothing!]] [[Film/{{UHF}} Absolutely nothing]]! [[http://www.wwd.com/media-news/fashion-memopad/petit-public-7327408?src=nl/mornReport/20131231 The inital ratings for the Esquire Network]] were unable to be measured by Nielsen because they were "too low to meet its “minimum-reporting standard," and ratings and interest continued to stay low. Dish Network, [=AT&T=] U-Verse, and DirecTV dropped the network in late 2016, with its future very much in doubt.

The website [=G4TV.com=] is now a skeleton portal hosting the network schedule, a freemium game portal that's little promoted and visited, and shows the withering bones of the network's dormant social media presence. Some providers replaced the channel with sister network Cloo, while others gave the space to budding networks such as UP and Pivot. ''Series/AmericanNinjaWarrior'', the sole surviving G4 original series, now airs on both Creator/{{NBC}} and Esquire Network. The show is no longer produced by G4's quasi-parent company G4 Media, which now exists solely to maintain the [=TechTV=] and G4 program libraries.

In March 2015, a small glimmer of hope emerged as [[http://www.syfygames.com/news Syfy's freemium gaming website started a news and videos section with the G4 branding]]. The site also employs some former G4 employees as writers. Although it's probably done for trademark reasons, the fact [=NBCUniversal=] is still using the G4 name for new content is a small reassurance for the channel's fans.

See Series/{{Nerdist}} as a direct SpiritualSuccessor (and also has many G4 personalities working there). Also see Website/ScrewAttack as well as the many gaming personalities on Website/YouTube and Website/{{Twitch}} and the notable are cataloged here on TVTropes under Main/VideoReviewShow and Main/LetsPlay.
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