G4 shuts down after layoffs, Frosk firing, WWE deal falls apart

After mass layoffs less than a year after its return, Comcast’s video game-centric television and online network G4 is shutting down, according to a report from Deadline citing an internal email from Comcast Spectacor CEO Dave Scott.

“Over the past several months, we worked hard to generate … interest in G4, but viewership is low and the network has not achieved sustainable financial results,” Scott wrote. “This is certainly not what we hoped for, and, as a result, we have made the very difficult decision to discontinue G4’s operations, effective immediately.”

While G4 has struggled throughout 2022, the shutdown itself was sudden. The Washington Post viewed another email sent Sunday from G4 head Joe Marsh to employees that informed staff that G4′s Los Angeles facility would be closed until Oct. 18 — and that all streams were postponed. But that email did not mention the network’s shutdown. Additionally, former G4 employees who requested anonymity due to the signing of nondisclosure agreements told The Post that staff were locked out of internal communication services like Slack and Google Drive without immediate explanation. This came after crew from “Arena,” a show produced as part of a crucial deal with the WWE, quit last week, according to ex-employees.

G4 is Comcast’s attempt at reviving a network from the early 2000s that imagined what televised video game coverage and entertainment could look like years before content creators on YouTube and Twitch began amassing millions of viewers. Despite repeated attempts at bringing said creators into the fold — shows such as “Name Your Price” were hosted by Twitch stars like AustinShow (who has not publicly divulged his full name) — the network never found its footing when competing against individual influencers, who themselves were inspired by G4′s original, 2002-2014 iteration.

Expenditures for guest talent appear to have played a role in the closure. According to multiple G4 employees interviewed by The Post, some high-profile creators demanded day rates of $25,000-$30,000 when invited to appear as guests on G4.

Several events presaged G4′s demise. The nosedive that culminated Sunday began when then-president Russell Arons exited G4 at the end of August. In September, G4 laid off more than 20 crew members, many of whom worked on shows like video game review and commentary flagship “X-Play.” A week later, Kotaku reported that one of the revived G4′s most prominent faces, “X-Play” host Indiana “Froskurinn” Black, was no longer with the network. Later that same month, Kevin Pereira — one of the biggest names to come out of the original 2005-13 run of geek culture variety program “Attack of the Show,” who also hosted its reboot — also departed.

In Sunday’s memo, Scott expressed his regrets.

“I know this is disappointing news, and I’m disappointed, too,” he wrote. “I want to thank you and everyone on the G4 team for the hard work and commitment to the network.”

Leave a Reply