G4, also known as G4
TV, is an American cable- and satellite-television channel originally geared
toward male viewers aged 12–28, devoted to the world of video games.
More recently, the channel
has diverted its focus to general-interest programming that targets
male viewers aged 17–36, although video games are still represented
by the channel.
launched on April 24, 2002, is headquartered in Los
Angeles, California, United
States, and owned by G4 Media, a
majority-owned subsidiary of Comcast.
G4 was initially created by Comcast and Insight Communications
. The initial
concept was to create a service similar to TechTV
but "geared more toward MTV
network was launched with thirteen original series
, however, during the
first week of airing, on Comcast's digital service
, the video game
was shown. It featured the screen
of a Pong
board, with a game being played out. This was
repeated until the channel's first shows premiered.
The launch shows consisted of:
G4 was originally led by Charles Hirschhorn, a former president of
Walt Disney Television
. He expected video game creators themselves to
eventually produce programming for the network. 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're 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
On March 25, 2004, Vulcan Inc.
to G4 Media which merged both channels
to become G4techTV
. The original TechTV
production facilities located in San Francisco, California, were closed and the merged network
headquarters consolidated in Los Angeles.
the combined entity.
On February 15, 2005, less than a year after the merger, the
letters, "TechTV", were officially dropped from the channel's name
in the U.S. and the channel became known again as G4
on the network's affiliate in Canada, the
"TechTV" letters remained a part of the name until mid-2009, when
the channel was renamed G4
Change in format
In September 2005, Neal Tiles
Hirschhorn as the channel's president. Tiles had previously been a
senior marketing executive at DirecTV
On May 6, 2006, Variety
the entertainment-trade magazine
"Now, under the aegis of Comcast and new president Neal
Tiles, G4 is evolving into a lifestyle channel, peppered with
videogame culture, as opposed to wall-to-wall games."
'We're going through a change.
Guys like to play games, but not necessarily watch a
bunch of shows with games on the screen,' Tiles says.
'So what we're doing now is expanding G4 from a network
solely defined by videogames to one inspired by
In 2007, G4, in association with Earth911
, launched an electronic- waste
-recycling campaign called
In June 2008, G4 launched G4
. This block showed older episodes of X-Play
, Judgment Day
. G4 Rewind
eventually dropped due to the inability of the dated gaming content
to attract significant ratings, however G4 Rewind
in Daytime reruns for older episodes of X-Play
. In May
2009 G4's website was completely redesigned with a more prominent
role of gaming as the intended purpose. The website is currently in
phase 1 of its "beta" form with 2 other phases coming. Since the
redesign of the website, G4's blog, TheFeed, has been overhauled as
well. On July 31 a new web video game discussion series,
debuted. On August 28, 2009 TheFeed
debuted as Feedback
Comcast, the parent company of both G4 and E!
television channels, 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
, who had formerly run the E! channel. It was announced
that the upper management of the G4 channel would relocate to the
E! channel's Los Angeles office. 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 studios of the E!
channel elsewhere in the Los Angeles area. As a consequence, there
many G4 employees involved in production were termimated. The sets
of G4's original programs were also redesigned to fit within the
new smaller spaces allocated to them.
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.
Design Studios Onesize and yU+Co teamed up to rebrand the G4
network as part of the transition.
Layoffs and cut-backs
On February 17, 2009, it was reported that G4 intended to cut back
its original content 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. Neal Tiles announced
that Layla Kayleigh
's contract will
not be renewed and in April, she left G4.
The numerous changes to the network's programming brought on a
storm of criticism from longtime TechTV/G4 fans across the
internet, many claiming that the channel has strayed too far from
its gaming and technology roots, and accuse the channel of solely
relying on shows like X-Play
Attack of the Show!
With most of the remaining G4 original shows having been severely
altered, many saw this as G4's ongoing attempt to be a competitor
to other male-oriented networks such as Spike
, thus losing any unique identity.
The merger and the attempt at male-oriented appeal caused negative
reaction on the fanbase
is a 1080i high definition
simulcast of G4 that launched on
December 8, 2008. Currently, no original shows are shot in full
HD, they are instead upconverted
and presented in 4:3
aspect ratio. However, G4 President Neal Tiles
recently said on his official site Open Source
shows will be shot in native HD by the end of 2009. The AT&T U-verse
system carries the channel
began carrying the
channel on June 29, 2009.