I hate Comcast and I don’t use the word hate lightly. My hatred started way back when they ended up taking over my local service from the cable company I first got broadband from, MediaOne. The folks at MediaOne ended up being bought out by AT&T’s cable company and part of the deal required AT&T to give up some markets due to having too much or something like that. Comcast got several former MediaOne regions here in Michigan including Canton. First thing they did was raise prices, but for awhile I had little else to complain about. Then the company they were using for their broadband, @Home, went under and they decided to run their broadband themselves. MediaOne used Road Runner for it’s broadband and that carried over when Comcast took over. Road Runner wasn’t going out of business yet we were the first customers to be switched to Comcast’s internal service before they worked all the bugs out. It was a mess and then it was revealed that they were capturing information from their customers that they had no need to such as credit card information during purchases and banking info and I decided I couldn’t trust Comcast anymore and dropped them like a hot potato. Plus they had raised their prices while promising faster service only to cut my cable modem speeds from what I had under MediaOne/Road Runner.
When Wide Open West bought out Ameritech cable here in Michigan I was pleased that I lived in one of the rare cities that had two different cable providers and once it became clear they planned to offer cable modem service (Ameritech refused as it would compete with their DSL service, probably why their cable company floundered) I signed up. I’ve been pretty happy with WOW for the most part. I’ve only had one small price increase I can think of in the last couple of years and they’ve actually added services such as free access to the Starz! movie channels at no extra cost. Also, unlike Comcast, whenever WOW offers a price break deal they don’t limit it to new subscribers only. I thought I was free of Comcast forever and every time one of their reps showed up at my door or I got one of their offers in the mail I laughed like Frankenstein after he successfully brought his monster to life. Comcast sucks big dick and there’s not much that would make me a willing consumer of their services again.
Now those bastards have bought my favorite cable channel, TechTV, with the intention of merging it with their amazingly craptacular G4 gaming network. Now as much as a network totally devoted to video games appeals to me, I’ve seen G4 over at Hairboy’s house and the quality of the programming was laughable. I always thought that the video game show on TechTV, X-Play, was a little cheesy and amateurish until I saw the G4 equivalent which makes the X-Play production look amazing in comparison.
OK, I thought, this isn’t the end of the world. Maybe Comcast will realize the value of what they’ve bought and not fuck with it too much. Then I read over at Leo Laporte’s blog that Comcast just fired the entire staff of TechTV though they did offer to consider hiring any employees who want to take jobs at the new studios they just set up in L.A. (TechTV’s studios are in San Francisco).
I’ve just learned that G4 has fired the entire staff of TechTV.
Per the WARN Act (governing plant closings) all the employees of TechTV have been given 60 days notice. The San Francisco operation will be shuttered by July. 100 of the existing jobs will be posted for those willing to relocate to LA.
Outgoing COO, Joe Gillespie will say good-bye to the troops tomorrow. Incoming CEO Charles Hirschorn will say hello (and good-bye) on Monday.
No word on which shows G4 will keep or which hosts will be kept on.
Aiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! From other reports I’ve read Comcast’s big reason for buying TechTV wasn’t so they could improve the quality of programming on their own channel, but so they could increase the reach of their channel (which was largely limited to markets Comcast had a presence in). I’m seriously doubting that X-Play will be carried over to the new network let alone Fresh Gear or TechLive (which are the other programs I watch on that channel). I have a deep fear that Comcast is simply going to ruin my favorite channel and I’m pissed as hell about it. This is literally the channel I watch the most and it’s the only one with any programs I make a point of watching. Must they ruin EVERYTHING I LOVE?!?! Curse you Comcrap! CURSE YOU!!!!!!!
Update: Here’s some more on this story from CNet.com:
Comcast will merge TechTV, owned by Paul Allen’s Vulcan Ventures, with its own G4 video game network when the buyout is finalized next week. David Shone, a spokesman for G4 TV, said the company plans to hire 80 people from the San Francisco office to work at the game channel’s Los Angeles headquarters. Employees were given two months notice and various severance packages, he said.
“Today we gave notice to 285 employees that they’ll be impacted by the merger,” Shone said. “We wanted to give employees as much notice as possible so that they can begin to make other plans.”
G4 plans to maintain the San Francisco office as a production facility run by a few employees, Shone said. G4 currently employs 205 people in Los Angeles and a small sales staff in New York.
Still no word on what shows/hosts will stick around.