Inside view from G4-TechTV

I've made a lot of posts regarding my disdain for the merger between G4 and TechTV. I swear it was the most ass-backwards thing to happen in television. TechTV had finally been making great strides in the ratings for shows like Call For Help and The Screen Savers, and regular viewers really enjoyed seeing the people on the show.

Two former on-air personalities have shared their experiences online. The first is Dan "Foo" Huard, who started as an intern for The Screen Savers back in the days that Megan Morrone, Leo Laporte and Patrick Norton. He worked his way up to producing even through the move to LA, before they let him go. He gives his account of his entire time before and after the merge.

 I didn't know this, but Wil Wheaton (yeah, the Star Trek kid) was apparently hosting G4's "Arena" show. Things went to shit with him too and he left on his own terms.

Both of these stories have a common theme: Executives and producers that had no idea what the hell they were after. The Comcast morons see the video game industry as this giant multi-billion dollar industry and they want a piece. TechTV, while apparnetly never making mad profit, saw a bigger market in technology in general, both in terms of helping and educating viewers and keeping them informed of what was going on in the world. If you ask me, that was the right direction considering you had people like BMW and IBM on your advertiser list.

But no, gaming entertainment seemed like a better idea for the Comcast folks, and they somehow think that expanding the subscriber base ten-fold would magically cause the cash to roll in. Instead, they've managed to alienate the huge audience that TechTV cultured, and killed any credibility they had with the G4 gamer audience. Both audiences are smart enough that they can smell bullshit like a fart in a car, and boy does it stink in there.

I guess the worst part, as someone that used to work in various broadcast jobs, is that the people that really make the "magic" are the ones that suffer the most at the hand of executives and a company that has no clear leadership or vision. TechTV had a lot of brilliant people on and off camera, and it came through in their programming. People like Leo Laporte, who had a wide appeal but was apparently not hip enough for G4, will always have work, but the young people like Foo, Yoshi, Sarah Lane, Kevin Rose and others may not be able to bounce back in a broadcast job if things go down the tubes. This is not to say that life would be over (look at Megan Morrone, who has a beautiful daughter and is now carrying twins!), but you hate to see talented people get underservingly screwed.

In business, it's rare that good people leave a bad situation to form a new company and do great things, and it's especially hard to do when starting a TV network, but wouldn't it be amazing if just such a thing could happen?