G4TV suffered major layoffs less than a year after returning

G4 TV staff pose in the new office after the network's unlikely return.

Photo: G4 TV

At least somewhere between 20 and 30 staff members were made redundant at G4TV today, according to three sources familiar with the business. The Video Game Talk Show Network of the 2000s was resurrected last fall on streaming platforms like Twitch as well as cable TV, but is now facing a major upheaval less than a year later. “I really can’t imagine the company continuing to produce our content slate without the people we lost today,” one employee said.

The timing and severity of the cuts took staff by surprise, with talent showing up on set today ready to film only to see programming canceled as HR reps met one-on-one with employees. While the extent of the layoffs is unclear, a source said those affected were told they would receive between 16 weeks and six months of severance depending on their tenure at Comcast, the parent company of G4.

Three sources tell Kotaku that G4’s finances have been in poor shape for some time and managers have been instructed to seek cost savings where possible. Things apparently came to a head in a show of hands a few months ago when then-G4 Chairman Russell Arons discussed the issues the company was facing and proposed targets for unrealistic income for the coming year. Staff felt caught off guard, a source said, due to a lack of clear goals to measure success against so far.

Arons left soon after and was replaced by Comcast Spectacor executive Joe Marsh, who sources say was only interested in finding ways to cut the budget. The suddenness and severity of today’s layoffs, however, was unexpected and calls into question what the future of the new G4 will be. The network recently announced a slate of new content, including a satirical Xplay show called god of worka play on the success of Sony God of the war series.

Originally launched in 2002 by Comcast, G4 was the only outlet for gaming news, reviews and discussion on TV at the time. His main shows were xplayhosted by Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb, and Attack of the show!, hosted by Olivia Munn and Kevin Pereira. These shows were eventually canceled in 2012, and the network shut down a few years later as video game content migrated online.

The network then relaunched in November 2021 with a mix of old and new talent, along with plans to stream daily content on Twitch and other platforms in addition to being hosted on cable. In addition to the return of Sessler and Pereira, the new hosts included professional wrestler Austin “Xavier Woods” Watson, Indiana “Froskurinn” Black, Jirard “The Completionist” Khaliland, Fiona Nova and many more.

The relaunch was reportedly the brain child of Tucker Roberts, the son of Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. Tucker led the cable and internet company’s evolution into esports and is currently president of competition Surveillance team, Philadelphia Fusion. According to one source, however, Tucker stepped down from G4 operations in March.

Updated: 9/15/22, 2:08 PM ET: G4 hosts Fiona Nova and Case Blackwell have gone live 2:00 p.m. on Twitch Thursday for the last episode of The feedback and addressed the layoffs, reassuring viewers that even though close colleagues had been laid off, there were no plans to cut the channel’s programming.

“What I’ll say is yeah, we have lost some really talented and amazing people, people who are honestly part of our family,” Nova said. “We were all crying, we were all devastated that’s why we couldn’t do a show yesterday. Emotions were running high and it was the right choice to cancel it.

She was referring to the last episode of Attack of the show! which would normally have aired on Wednesday. She pointed out that the schedule change had nothing to do with the lack of staff needed to continue producing it.

β€œAt the end of the day, nothing has changed, we’re literally going to be doing the same amount of content that we’ve been doing since last November,” Nova said. “We grow and this is what growth looks like, it has its ups and downs.”

Updated: 9/14/22 6:05 PM ET: Added more information on how staff learned about the cuts.

Fix: 9/15/22 2:30 PM ET: Corrected Joe Marsh’s role description at Comcast Spectacor.