Comcast just keeps giving me reasons to hate them. First they gobbled up our region when MediaOne was sold to AT&T so we switched to Earthlink DSL until Wide Open West got their cable modem service up and running here in Michigan. Then they bought out TechTV and fired most of the staff. Then they dropped several of the shows from TechTV during the merger. Then they slowly killed off the handful of TechTV shows that they did keep one by one until the only two shows left from the merger are X-Play and The Screen Savers, the latter of which barely resembles the geek paradise it once was. Reports from former staffers talk of how producers of the show aren’t even taking live callers anymore because the TSS audience is too geeky. X-Play is the only show from TechTV to make the transition relatively intact and with the same hosts and that’s because it was about video games.
Now they’ve dropped all pretense and announced that the network will be changing its name to G4 – Video Game Television and will be adding two new shows to the lineup: Formula D will cover the sport of “drift racing” which is gaining in popularity here in the states and Girls Gone Wired which will be some sort of a “digital beauty pageant” featuring various female video game characters.
The only show from the old G4 that I’ve felt was any good at all is Icons which presents half-hour documentaries on video game related topics. I don’t know who produces that show, but it’s surprisingly good and I’m hoping there are new shows planned. Beyond that I’ll watch Cinematech on occasion as it’s largely trailers and game play clips of games new and old that makes for an interesting distraction while eating dinner, but it’s nothing I make a point to watch. The only show on the channel I do make a point to watch is X-Play. Granted, I didn’t watch everything that TechTV produced either, but I was a fan of Fresh Gear (gone) and the occasional episode of Secret, Strange, & True (gone) which was the BBC series Horizons with a new name.
It was clear from the get-go that the merger was purely a means of gaining access to more audience share beyond Comcast’s own cable network. It was also apparent that the folks at Comcast didn’t have a clue about the composition of the TechTV audience or how much trouble they were going to have trying to appeal to it along with the audience they’d built for their own network. In the end it became evident that they not only didn’t care to try and make the TechTV fans happy, but were openly disdainful of them. Which is really a shame as TechTV had quite a devoted following. Now we have to sit back and hope that someone else will launch a channel to fill the void left behind by Comcast’s acquisition.