EXCLUSIVE: Komcast‘s Spectacor division is pulling the plug on the video game-focused network G4 TV, whose early incarnation in the 2000s continues to be a cultural touchstone for many millennials, just a year after its relaunch.
In a memo to be sent to all employees, Spectacor CEO Dave Scott explained that the company’s investments and efforts to revitalize the network simply hadn’t picked up steam.
A few dozen employees and temporary workers are affected by the shutdown. Comcast said it will support them with outplacement and is considering some for internal opportunities.
That departure in summer by Russell Arons, a veteran digital media executive who came on board as G4 president in 2021, was a precursor to today’s news. Your assignments have been added to Joe Marsh, a.’s portfolio Comcast Spectacor Veterinarian who was the CEO of T1, an international esports joint venture with Korea’s SK Telecom.
The current iteration of G4 is smaller and less geared towards traditional linear TV than its predecessor. It has announced a programming board that features a revived version of the original G4 mainstays Attack of the show! and Xplayplus comedy StrengthenedJapanese competition series Ninja warriorE-sports competitions and the Dungeons & Dragons limited series.
In addition to providing content on YouTube and social media, G4 has a multi-year agreement with Twitch and pay-TV distribution agreements with Verizon FiOS, Cox, Xfinity TV and Philo.
Several media and tech companies focused on the gaming community have been in turmoil lately, with Facebook shutting down its gaming app and Google winding up gaming service Stadia. VENN, a startup dubbed “MTV of video games‘ just went broke.
G4’s first run began in 2002 under co-owners NBCUniversal and Dish Network. The network was founded by former Disney TV executive Charles Hirschhorn, who saw it as the successor to MTV in terms of its potential to tap into youth culture. A number of notable personalities appeared as hosts during the early stages of G4, including Olivia Munn, Chris Hardwick, Kevin Pereira and Grace Helbig.
After dark in 2014, G4’s place on the watch face was taken over by the Esquire Network in what would prove to be a short-lived branding exercise. Amid a wave of excitement on social media, new owner Comcast Spectacor revealed plans for the network’s return at the 2020 Virtual Comic-Con edition.
Spectacor’s primary business focus is sports and live events, with the division owning the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and their home arena, the Wells Fargo Center, among numerous other assets. G4’s results were never particularly important to Spectacor, but the division has been avidly following esports, making the G4 revival a logical attempt.
Here’s Scott’s full memo, which Deadline obtained from a source:
As you know, G4 was reintroduced last year to capitalize on the popularity of
To play. We’ve invested in creating the new G4 as a destination for fans online and on TV
to be entertained, inspired and connected to game content.
We’ve been working hard over the past few months to generate this interest in G4, but
Viewership is low and the network has not achieved sustainable funding
Results. This is certainly not what we were hoping for and so we managed to do it
very difficult decision to cease operations of G4 effective immediately.
I know this is disappointing news and I am disappointed too. I want to thank you
and everyone on the G4 team for their hard work and dedication to the network.
Our human resources team is reaching out to support you,
discuss other opportunities that may be available and answer any questions you have
Thank you again for all your hard work for G4.
Chairman and CEO