Defunct video game TV network G4 being revived by T1 owners

Defunct television network G4 is being revived.

Comcast and Spectacor Gaming, the entities that own League of Legends’ T1 and the Overwatch League’s Philadelphia Fusion, are dusting the brand off and bringing it back as a digital network. Comcast owns the G4 brand while Spectacor Gaming president Tucker Roberts will be in charge of the product. It's worth noting Roberts has been romantically linked to former G4 “Attack of the Show” hostess Olivia Munn since 2019.

A tease for the rebooted G4 was launched across social media, with the tagline, “We never stopped playing.”

Launched by Comcast in 2002, G4 tried to serve as a middle ground between the deliberately nerdy TechTV and the trendier stylings of MTV. In 2004, G4 and TechTV merged to become G4techTV. The TechTV portion of the name was later dropped.

G4 contained a broad variety of gaming and tech-focused programming, ranging from “Cinematech,” which played game trailers and speed runs, to game review show Judgment Day. Its most popular and longest-running shows were video game review show “X-Play” and daily news show “Attack! of the Show.”

The network drew poor ratings for most of its programming, leading to a slow transition over time towards a greater focus on programming that was thought to be more broadly appealing. This included syndicating shows from larger networks such as Arrested Development, Cops, and Heroes.

In 2009, the network was dropped by DirecTV, which was followed by regular departures of longtime staff and executives.

Various buyouts were reported over time, with the most notable suitors being WWE and UFC, both of whom looked to acquire the network in order to transform it into a dedicated network for their own programming. None of these deals were finalized and G4 was dropped by more cable and satellite providers over time. The network was shut down entirely in 2014.

G4 can fill a niche in 2020, but has lots of competition

G4 is an interesting network to look back on, having built an entire TV channel around niche programming in hopes of attracting very specific viewers and the advertisers interested in that demographic. Its inability to draw a large enough audience ultimately undermined those efforts, which led to its eventual homogenization.

Despite that, the G4 brand is still a recognizable one for certain demographics, and social media platforms including YouTube and Twitch have shown that there’s an enormous craving for video game-related content. Operating as a digital network also makes more sense in the current media landscape. 

The trouble is that G4 faces some stiff competition from other networks that are doing similar work. Spectacor is likely hoping that the nostalgia attached to the G4 brand will help it to find new footing early on.

As for what programming they will be working with, a number of defunct Twitter accounts have been wiped and have posted the G4 tease. This suggests that some of these shows may be revived alongside the G4 brand.

The launch won't come until 2021, but expect more details to emerge over the coming months.

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