Will the last one at G4 please turn off the lights?

Kevin PereiraAfter 10 years, Kevin Pereira is leaving G4 TV, where he has been a key face of the premium cable network’s tech and pop culture news, most notably on Attack of the Show!

Pereira’s departure will come in the next week during G4’s coverage of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), at the end of a long goodbye that’s included weeks of retrospectives. But he was preceded out the door last month by X-Play co-host and G4 gaming editor-in-chief Adam Sessler in an apparent contract dispute.

Their departures leave X-Play co-host Morgan Webb as the only remaining “founding” member of the network, which started life as ZDTV and merged with TechTV in 2004. Since then, G4 has changed format several times and continually shed its original content offerings, becoming home to more and more syndicated programming that resembles the testosterone-TV channel Spike more than it does the nerdy game room it once was — in much the same way Syfy, formerly The Sci Fi Channel, has become home to more reality shows and wrestling events than the scripted sci-fi shows of its roots. Rumors have been swirling for a while of an impending sale of G4 to the UFC or WWE, and the network, a creation of cable company Comcast, no longer appears on DirecTV’s lineups.

Is the writing on the wall for G4? Is there a place on television for the kind of content it became known for? I hope for the latter, though of course this question echoes the struggles of all media, not just TV. G4 content may have degraded over the years, but the fact that flagship titles Attack of the Show! and X-Play have remained, with however diminished a schedule, through all of the network’s transformations is a testament to their formats, if not the strength of the network as a whole.

It may simply be that such content is shifting to the Web rather than your cable or satellite receiver.

People like Pereira rose to their heights by displaying creative ability and initiative early on, and there’s no shortage of either being demonstrated online every minute in public forums like YouTube. And many former TechTV/G4 personalities already have migrated to that platform. (Just look at Chris Pirillo, for one.) All it will take for the next generation of presenters to be discovered is for the right media executive, in the right place at the right time, to know what he or she is looking at, subscribe to their feed and let marketing do the rest. And social media, as we all know, has allowed many to skirt even that long-established gatekeeper process. That is not a bad thing — just a new piece of the puzzle for creative people.

Pereira’s antics have been fun, his presentation engaging and his knowledge impressive, so hopefully we’ll be seeing more pop culture perspective from him, and more gaming industry insight from Sessler as well. But Attack of the Show! still has (for now) an impressive team of experts like Chris Gore, Blair Butler and Blair Herter. And if G4 by some miracle hires on up-and-coming experts to give us a new TV experience where we used to watch them, all the better for everyone. But it’s more likely that you’ll be replacing that perspective with a Twitter or Facebook list or YouTube playlist of your own, curated by you or by someone online that you don’t even know but have come to trust.


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