Earlier this year, NBCUniversal brought in Adam Stotsky to serve as the new General Manager of G4 before announcing plans to give the network “a GQ makeover.”
To underscore that goal, G4 has confirmed that its signature series, “Attack of the Show” and “X-Play” are being cancelled at the end of 2012. Both shows are the only remaining holdovers from the network’s previous incarnations; which were geared towards gamer lifestyle and geek culture. “X-Play” even predated G4 itself on TechTV before the two networks merged years ago.
For long time observers, this move was not a surprise. G4 had been attempting to “ditch the geek” for years by piling up on lowest common denominator programming like repeats of “Cops” and “Cheaters.” It seemed as if the people in charge of G4 desperately wanted the network to be more like Spike TV than anything else.
No one outside of NBCUniversal has a firm idea of what the “GQ makeover” will entail; but without “Attack of the Show” or “X-Play” on the network, it would make sense if the G4 name was retired in favor of something new. This represents a definitive break from the channel’s previous incarnations, so the G4 brand will mean very little to fans after those shows are gone.
The two cancellations will potentially leave a hole to be filled in geek media. The question is who will step up and fill that void? Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist, Machinima and Felicia Day’s Geek and Sundry may be in the best position to capitalize on the audience left behind by G4. There may also be a sudden influx of geek media personalities as the G4 hosts are released from their contracts.
Next year’s San Diego Comic Con International may also be affected by the end of “Attack of the Show” and “X-Play.” Both programs extensively covered the convention on G4 and the network also sponsored numerous events and panels. Because G4 was on basic cable, it was considered to be one of the authoritative voices of all things geek.
One way or another, some new voices are about to be heard.