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Comcast pulls the plug on G4 TV, ends comeback trial for gamer-focused network – deadline




EXCLUSIVE: Comcast’s Spectacor division is pulling the plug on video game-centric network G4 TV, whose early 2000s incarnation remains a cultural touchstone for millennials, just a year after its relaunch.

In a memo to be sent out to all employees, Spectacor CEO Dave Scott explained that the company’s investment and efforts to revive the network just weren’t paying off.

A few tens of employees and contract employees are affected by the closure. Comcast said it will help them with outplacement and consider some for internal opportunities.

The departure over the summer of Russell Arons, an experienced digital media executive who had come on board as G4̵[ads1]7;s president in 2021, was a precursor to today’s news. Her duties were added to the portfolio of Joe Marsh, a Comcast Spectacor vet who has been CEO of T1, an international esports joint venture with Korea’s SK Telecom.

The current iteration of the G4 is less and less focused on traditional linear TV than its predecessor. It has announced a line-up including a revived version of original G4 supports The show’s attack! and Xplayplus comedy ReinforcedJapanese competition series Ninja Warrioresports competitions and limited series from Dungeons & Dragons.

Along with putting content on YouTube and social media, G4 has a multi-year deal with Twitch and pay-TV distribution deals with Verizon FiOS, Cox, Xfinity TV and Philo.

Several media and technology ventures centered on the gaming community have hit turbulence recently, with Facebook shutting down its gaming app and Google discontinuing its gaming service Stadia. VENN, a startup dubbed the “MTV of video games,” also just went off the air.

G4’s first run began in 2002 under co-owners NBCUniversal and Dish Network. The network was created by former Disney television executive Charles Hirschhorn, who saw it as a successor to MTV in its potential to tap into youth culture. A number of notable personalities appeared as hosts on G4 in its early run, including Olivia Munn, Chris Hardwick, Kevin Pereira and Grace Helbig.

After going dark in 2014, G4’s spot on the dial was taken over by the Esquire Network, which would prove to be a short-lived branding exercise. Amid a flurry of enthusiasm on social media, new owner Comcast Spectacor revealed plans for Comic-Con’s virtual 2020 edition for the network’s return.

Spectacor’s main focus is on sports and live events, with the division owning the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers as well as their home arena, the Wells Fargo Center, along with a number of other assets. The results of the G4 were never particularly important to Spectacor, but the division has been keen on esports, making the G4 revival a logical thing to try.

Here’s Scott’s full memo, which Deadline obtained from a source:

Team:

As you know, the G4 was re-introduced last year to capitalize on its popularity
gaming. We invested in making the new G4 a web and TV destination for fans
to be entertained, be inspired and connect with gaming content.

Over the past few months, we’ve been working hard to generate that interest in the G4, but
viewership is low and the network has not achieved financial sustainability
results. This is certainly not what we were hoping for and as a result we have
very difficult decision to wind down G4’s operations, with immediate effect.
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 HR team will contact you to provide you with support,
discuss other options that may be available and answer any questions you may have
can have.

Thanks again for all your hard work for G4.

Sincerely,

Dave Scott
Chairman and CEO
Comcast Spectacor





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