After months of uncertainty and years of neglect, it seems that the bell has tolled for the former nerd-destination channel G4 TV. The channel that gave us such giants in nerd-based programming like Attack the Show! and American Ninja Warrior, as well as jump starting the careers nerd celebrities like Olivia Munn and Chris Hardwick, has been in a death spiral for sometime as channel owner Comcast tried to do nothing to reverse the fortunes of G4 and ran out of ideas. So in lieu of actually trying to save it, they’ve decided to let it die mercifully, but even on its deathbed, G4 and its handlers are still a magnet for controversy.
The news that G4 is a thing of the past seems to be not coming from Comcast, or its TV-production arm NBC Universal, but rather it’s the cable companies sounding the death knell for G4. Providers are sending out notices to subscribers saying that they will no longer be carrying G4, like this one from Great Plains Communications:
[We] will be removing G4 from the channel lineup, effective November 30, 2014. We apologize for the inconvenience, but would like to remind you that this was a decision made by NBC Universal and we must abide by their contractual requirements.
What’s interesting there is that no official announcement has been made by NBC Universal or Comcast that November 30 will be G4’s last day in business. The writing’s been on the wall for a while with Dish Network pulling G4 from its content line-up at the beginning of the year, and Time Warner Cable dropping it a few months before that. Much of G4’s original programming had been winding down, with only American Ninja Warrior going full-speed ahead in producing new episodes (probably because they can be sold elsewhere). In the meantime, G4’s syndication rights to nerdy hits like Heroes and Lost expired at the beginning of September and the channel’s be re-running original programming ever since.
It’s sad, I know, but G4 is a victim of neglect, and in a way, a victim of the changing market. How many websites and podcasts now do the job of Attack of the Show!, including this one? But since its more fun to blame Comcast rather than ourselves lets hit them on the wrist with a ruler for trying to turn G4 into something called Esquire TV, and then bailing on that idea only to realize that they have no idea what to do with G4 next, and obviously didn’t care. They, in essence, let it die a slow death, and the only real surprise is that it lasted this long.
So the media landscape changes again, and a once noble and venerable enterprise comes to an inauspicious and sad conclusion. I mean it’s not like losing a local newspaper that was in business for a century or more, but I’m sure someone will miss it. No one in Canada will miss G4 though, as it’s still exists in the Great White North with its emphasis on tech programming. Another reason to envy the Canadians, right? I mean, n’est-ce pas?