So it would seem that there are some rumblings that G4, that long-dead TV network that once hosted Attack of the Show! and X-Play, may make some kind of return. The news has caused waves all over the net. Although it’s important to understand why. G4 hasn’t really been a thing since it shut down in-studio production in late 2012. The network had been suffering from a long decline in viewership, and it finally shut down production on November 30, 2014, ending final programming runs by the end of that year.
But earlier today, G4’s Attack of the Show! and X-Play both tweeted out a teaser that has caused a stir, and rumors of a G4 return. Check out the simple tease that has lit the web on fire down below.
Although it would be nice to see the network return to TV, that seems extremely unlikely; the number of legal hoops to jump through and licensing to pay for making that very hard to pull off in 2020.
The History of G4
And with the trend of “cable cutting” or getting rid of cable TV growing each month, there’s a lot standing in the way of a full return to the G4 TV network we all know. The decline of G4 as a brand began in earnest in 2010 when the channel was cut from US satellite TV carriage by DirecTV. That had been coming for some time though, as the programming on G4 had declined severely.
In its final years, G4 would transition into little more than syndicated “reality” TV; with hours-long blocks of COPS and Cheaters dominating the channel. That perception of the channel persists to this day. And that’s pretty sad, because G4 was kind of incredible.
In the years prior to the explosive growth of online games media and video websites like YouTube and Twitch, G4 was the first real attempt at making TV for gamers. It’s earlier incarnations were focused on gaming almost exclusively for the years of 2002-2006. After some internal shuffling and a merger with tech-focused TechTV, the network became known as G4TechTV. And while the network found solid success running both reruns of popular shows from both networks, as well as original content, things were still very rocky.
By 2009 the network had cut back its original programming and went toward a more brand-based and syndicated approach. Early deals with Marvel and other major names were key in launching G4TechTV into a new era. Though these issues were consistent, the network did become a bright spot for the industry, helping to make the likes of Geoff Keighley, Jessica Chobot, Olivia Munn, Kevin Pereira, Morgan Webb and Adam Sessler all household names in their own right. However, that didn’t last long as the channel was dropped by DirecTV in 2010, sending it into a long and slow death spiral. The real signal of the end was the loss of flagship shows X-Play and Attack of the Show in late 2012, which marked the last of its original programming to air on the channel.
So What’s Next?
It’s very hard to say what could lie ahead. The obvious solution would be to head to Twitch or YouTube and kick-off live programming via their streaming platforms. There’s a major cautionary tale there though, and that is the unfortunate collapse of Geek and Sundry.
Geek and Sundry was launched on April 2, 2012 by actress Felicia Day with Kim Evey and Sheri Bryant. After years of original broadcasts around board games, gaming, and other geek culture, the brand exploded. It became a titan of online media. G&S began producing shows that found immediate success on YouTube and Twitch, like Critical Role and Tabletop. Although the company suffered a slow decline after losing some of its most popular shows. This became most apparent when Critical Role spun off from the brand in 2018.
In August 2014, Geek and Sundry were acquired by Legendary Entertainment, and despite steady viewership, eventually folded into Nerdist, another brand owned by Legendary. That was met with mixed feelings from fans. And when combined with the loss of both Critical Role and Tabletop over the years, it ultimately spelled doom for the network. Their Twitch subscriber numbers have collapsed to barely more than 100, from a peak of over 50,000.
So unless G4 is bringing the perfect storm of unique and relatable content to make them an early breakout hit on Twitch, a streaming platform looks like a mixed bag in terms of success.