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Inside TechTV/G4 404

Posted by michael
from the rolls-downhill dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Former G4TechTV employee, Dan Huard, blows the whistle on G4. In the last half of his article, he states that TSS manufactured questions and used 'ringers' to ask their questions on the show."
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Inside TechTV/G4

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:00PM (#11234348)
    What next? Professional wrestling is scripted?
    • by glrotate (300695) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:21PM (#11234449) Homepage
      Or so I've heard.
    • Re:Woah Woah Woah (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:45PM (#11234559)
      What next? Professional wrestling is scripted?

      Pro wrestling is not generally scripted. The match finishes are set-up by "road agents," retired old wrestlers, on the basis that they are the hook which will keep the marks returning. Promos, the speeches wrestlers give, are sometimes scripted but this is avoided when possible as it usually comes off bad when performed live (wrestlers are not actors); usually the wrestlers are given bullet-points containing the essential issues the bookers (wrestling writers and planners) want advanced in that month's storyline.

      For the most part, professional wrestling is improvised based on the structure of the match's finish as set up by road agents, and on the storyline points which are to be communicated. Within the framework established by the agents and bookers, the workers (wrestlers) are pretty much free to work spots (perform a sequence of moves) and create matches dynamically in accordance to the fluid reaction of the crowd. This is known in wrestling lingo as "psychology".

      Professional wrestling has far more in common with olde improv comedy [wikipedia.org] - or even, transcendentally, with pro-wrestling video games [dmoz.org], than it does with a movie or any other modern 'scripted' analog.

      PS - Most everything on TV is fraudulent to some degree, from the news to "reality" shows. Broadcast networks are run by Machiavellians. The bottom lines are ratings and brand-building; accuracy [abc.net.au], honesty and integrity don't enter into it, except as they affect the bottom lines (i.e. PR).
    • Depressing... (Score:5, Informative)

      by GFLPraxis (745118) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @03:29PM (#11234773) Homepage Journal
      Every time I hear G4/TechTV I get depressed. They combined an awesome channel with a sucky one to get a semi-sucky one. They fired all the good people on TechTV (We miss Leo!), replaced them with G4 people that are obsessive Mac-hating gamers (the new guy on the Screen Savers dislike Macs and is an obsessive gamer. Nothing like Leo, who had some actual intelligence and gave GREAT tips), and completely ruined the shows. And they removed a lot of the good stuff (Call for Help for example) and rarely air some of the surviving good shows.

      We miss Tech TV... :'(
      • Re:Depressing... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Shadow99_1 (86250) <theshadow99@NOsPAm.gmail.com> on Saturday January 01, 2005 @06:26PM (#11235513)
        I was never a Leo fan, but I'd just adjusted to the first road of changes when they added the 'guy I can't remember the name of' to cohost with Kevin with Dan, Yoshi, and Sarah backing them up. Now it's Chi-Lan, that other guy from G4 who hardly seems to know what a PC is (edit: Kevin Pereira I guess, now that I looked it up) , Kevin and Sarah... Personally I think Diane Mizota has more personality than Chi-Lan or for that matter the girls that did G4tv.com (Tina Wood and Laura Foy). Any of those would have been better choices, but I'm taking a wild guess and saying they all turned down the chance to be on TSS...

        I was never a big TechTV fan, but TSS was a fairly good view while eating lunch and safe viewing material for people like my parents who might not understand everything on the show, but got a fair education into subjects they wouldn't have before... Now I'm back to telling people to avoid the whole channel, it's rather sad...
  • Uh oh, (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Slashdot posts a link to a world-postable forum. Perhaps Mr. Huard will get a visit from the GNAA.
  • Not surprised. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by djkoolaide (729441) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:03PM (#11234363)
    I'm not surprised one bit. G4 is finally realizing that they messed up. Nobody is watching because they've completely done a Hitler move and fired off all of the good TechTV people. All that's left is good-looking, young hosts who don't know jack about what they are talking about. It's quite sad how fast they turned one of the best networks into the worst.
    • Re:Not surprised. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rednip (186217) <rednip&gmail,com> on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:21PM (#11234452) Journal
      All that's left is good-looking, young hosts who don't know jack about what they are talking about.
      Sounds like a typical layoff cycle. First you get rid of all the people who quietly get their work done, but don't kiss the ass of the right people, then the rest of the good workers start seeing a sinking ship and bolt. After that all you got left are the kiss-ass, blame layers, who make it their job do drive off anyone good left. Nothing new here...
    • by stonecypher (118140) * <stonecypherNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday January 01, 2005 @04:13PM (#11234996) Homepage Journal
      and fired off all of the good TechTV people

      Like the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and Superman? Here's a hint: TechTV barely got slashdot viewers, which says as much about TechTV as would a brutal and bloody art show failing in Manhattan, a butt naked supermodel catching no eyes on her jog through a remote all boys' boarding school, or the resurrected corpse of Ayn Rand walking into a Princeton lit class preaching the virtues of capitalism and watching the students walk out of the auditorium.

      Let's be honest. The average Nintendo Power carries more content than a week on that deservedly dead channel, and just because G4 actually somehow manages to be more awful doesn't mean that TechTV was in retrospect any fucking good at all.

      All that's left is good-looking, young hosts

      Well, I'll give you young, but if you're really sitting on the internet pretending that you use the TV to look at pretty people (let's not even get into whether you believe anyone is being fooled) then someone ought to point out the WB to you: their schedule is just as vapid, and the people are a hell of a lot prettier.

      But I read Smallville for the articles.
  • by Vectorman0 (795415) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:04PM (#11234370)
    It was so blatantly obvious that this was going on, that I don't see how anyone who has seen the show recently could have thought otherwise.
    • by Create an Account (841457) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:21PM (#11234450)
      I don't think people are shocked that it happened, but I do think it's good to get the straight scoop about how the situation evolved.

      As a moderately geeky business major, I see this as a management failure, so having this story helps me understand how not to screw up something good. If some geeky broadcast majors read this article, maybe they can help prevent some other geeky goodness from failing later.

      Just my two cents worth.
    • Does anyone really care that the calls were scripted/easy/whatever? I know I didn't. Actually the live calls have always been my least favorite part of TechTV. 2 to 3 minutes of complete boredom. You just simply can't answer an "interesting" question in the time they are allotted for live calls.

      In reading Dan's article, I was actually surprised to learn that the calls were ever pseudo-live at all. I started watching TechTV back when it was still ZDTV and The Screen Savers was a 90 minute show. Even b
  • by ravenspear (756059) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:05PM (#11234374)
    Leo was the only person giving TSS any semblance of watchability. When he left the whole thing spiraled down the toilet fairly quickly. Even before then, a lot of the unique tech content that made TSS cool at the beginning had started to be replaced with useless fluff.
    • by steeleye_brad (638310) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:23PM (#11234455)
      Bingo. It seems very few people acknowledge this. Leo was one of the few people on TechTV who appeared to actually have some training and experience in live television. Jittery nerds do not make good TV...case in point is Chris Pirillo. I don't why people thought he was good, that man just wasn't made for live TV.

      I haven't watched TechTV since it became G4TechTV (god damn what a terrible name). It is a shame Comcast has essentially dissolved TechTV, the end result of this merger was G4 getting a few new people and some new shows (many of which are now gone!).
      • Couldn't stand Chris from day one. The guy sounds like an airhead on the air... poor personality and poor display of technical knowledge. Wrong man entirely for what their audience was when the first brought him on. I could have cried...
      • Leo is my hero. He did a WHOLE DAY dedicated to IDE! That was one of the best shows I have ever, ever seen. Good computer info, now he just get all this gaming crap. Hey, I'm a huge gamer, but talking about computers wouldn't hurt.
      • by blixel (158224) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @03:41PM (#11234853)
        Bingo. It seems very few people acknowledge this. Leo was one of the few people on TechTV who appeared to actually have some training and experience in live television. Jittery nerds do not make good TV...

        Bingo. The part I find "funny" though is all the geek elitists think that just because a person puts on a smile and speaks fluently in a way that normal people can comprehend that the TV Show and/or person is "clueless" or whatever.

        I really liked watching Leo and Patrick. I thought they had a nice balance of TV presence and intelligence. I hate all the slashbots that would bash ZDTV/TechTV as being a show for morons. Get over yourselves.

        How interesting would it be to watch a completely introverted super nerd with a squeaky voice stumble and stutter every word while he's standing there on live TV staring at his shoe laces because he's too withdrawn to look at the camera.

        I liked the format of ZDTV/TechTV ... I thought it was interesting and yes, even informative at times.

        I don't like what the network has become. G4TechTV or whatever. I believe they are actually just calling it G4TV now because they don't want anything to do with Tech. But I don't hate the network because I'm so full of myself that I can't enjoy watching a "remedial" television show. I hate the network because they have completely gotten rid of everything tech related.

        But have you seen the programming lately? It's ALL games. One or two shows about games is cool .. I like a game every now and then and like to hear opinions and stay abreast about the latest games. But holy crap ... it's 24/7 video games now. And it's not even interesting to watch. Who wants to watch an hour of video game cut scenes ala Cinematech? Do we really need 3 different shows about video game reviews? Do we really need an entire show dedicated to video game cheat codes?
    • Eventhough TSS is down the drain, G4 has degenerated into the Millie Vanilli of tech talk and Leo has long since departed; those of us in Los Angeles can catch Leo on KFI and avoid paying toll charges. It's one of the few redeeming characteristics of living in a cultural wasteland. You can check out Leo here (http://leoville.tv/radio/pmwiki.php)
    • Oh come on, Martin Sargent wasn't that bad. It's sad that they canceled Unscrewed. =/
  • by Linker3000 (626634) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:06PM (#11234379) Journal

    News for Nerds.......(0)
    Stuff that matters...(0)
    Next.
    • I haven't watched TechTV for years because of exactly this sort of suck factor. It used to be kind of cool to see shows on TV that actually talked about Linux on par with Windows, but they've taken a good thing and completely screwed it up. Go out of business fast, so we can start The Linux Channel.
    • At one time... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vwjeff (709903) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @03:07PM (#11234671)
      the Screen Savers were the only show on TV that would come close to taking about technology. Where else on TV would you hear Linux mentioned as well as a live install (as Megan did on a show) They would often mention programs that I had never heard of and I would go download them. The first time I heard of Knoppix was on The Screensavers. Hell, they even had Taco in for an interview. (The last good thing they did after the merger)

      I once loved watching the show but now I can't. The new hosts are all about gaming, gaming, gaming.
      • Re:At one time... (Score:3, Informative)

        by stonecypher (118140) *
        the Screen Savers were the only show on TV that would come close to taking about technology

        Apparently nobody's turned you onto PBS, The History Channel, the Learning Channel, the Technology Channel, CNN Tech, et cetera, et cetera. I mean, even the Canadians have a tech channel now, and they don't even have electricity.

        Here's a hint: The Daily Show had both more frequent and more in-depth coverage of actual technology news than TechTV or G4 had put together. Quake 6's phong shaded goraud mip-mapped qui
        • Re:At one time... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by vwjeff (709903)
          I should have been more specific in my complaints. I said "technology" what I should have said computer technology. I never mentioned the word science in my original post. There are plenty of science sources on TV but few if any shows dedicated to computer technology. "I hate history, the people on the history channel don't talk about anything but history." What else would you expect the history channel to talk about besides history? What would you expect a channel called G4/TechTV to talk and report
  • by ChairmanMeow (787164) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:12PM (#11234405) Journal
    I haven't watched TechTV since it was bought out by G4, and, to be honest, I don't intend to start. It was excellent before the takeover, but afterwards, the focus changed, and it became clear that the new management didn't want the "geeks" that watched TechTV. So be it. But don't expect me to watch G4/TechTV anymore.
  • Unfortunately (Score:5, Informative)

    by mattboston (537016) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:13PM (#11234411) Homepage
    TechTV started going downhill when they let go of Leo Laporte. I used to be a huge fan of The Screen Savers, and when he left it went down, then when Pat left, it went down more, then with the latest generation it's total crap. So I have cancelled my Comcast Digital Cable which is the only reason I had it... to watch The Screen Savers
    • Leo was excellent in what he did. Actually, Pat wasn't half bad either.

      I hate what the've done to TSS recently. The guy they added to replace Pat just after the LA move - Alex - actually worked pretty well with Kevin Rose, once you got used to his style, I guess, but they got rid of him too. What's the story on that, BTW? It was very sudden. And now Kevin Rose has taken a back seat.

      In any case, I absolutely HATE The other Kevin and Chi-Lan. They're horrible at what they've been tasked to do.

      • Re:Unfortunately (Score:3, Interesting)

        by blixel (158224)
        Leo was excellent in what he did. Actually, Pat wasn't half bad either.

        I completely agree except I think Pat was excellent as well. He was a little more serious and low key which I thought was a good balance to Leo's often highly upbeat and comical style.

        I hate what the've done to TSS recently. The guy they added to replace Pat just after the LA move - Alex - actually worked pretty well with Kevin Rose, once you got used to his style, I guess, but they got rid of him too. What's the story on that, BTW?
  • G4, the MTV of tech (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:16PM (#11234426)
    MTV has no music and now G4/TTV has no tech. G4 is dropping the TTV half of the name and going solely to a "lifestyle" and gaming network. What a crying shame.

    To the geeks here I say, "Boycott G4 and their sponsers. Write letters to the sponsers. Boycott their lame message boards. Spread the word far and wide."

    The Screensavers message board is being ruled by mods who only recently became mods. I suspect that they're G4 fans and/or employees. They immediately lock any thread that criticizes the show and they'll ban you in a hearbeat if you persist. Don't even bother posting there.

    The show looks like it's being run by some old fart who used to be in radio.
    • To the geeks here I say, "Boycott G4 and their sponsers. Write letters to the sponsers. Boycott their lame message boards. Spread the word far and wide."

      Why bother. It sounds like they wouldn't care what you say to them, they wouldn't listen anyway. I think just leave them be, and after a while the silence will make them worry more. After all, you make a bunch of noise and at least they know you are watching.

      Oh but the part about telling everyone else sounds good.

    • by sixy (516428) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:39PM (#11234529)
      To the geeks here I say, "Boycott G4 and their sponsers. Write letters to the sponsers. Boycott their lame message boards. Spread the word far and wide."
      I'd actually have to watch the shows to know who the sponsors were.
    • by daniil (775990) *
      I hate to say this, but you're preaching to the wrong choir. Because if you haven't noticed, then Slashdot is rolling down the same hill. News for Nerds? Get real. Most of these "news" come from mainstream sources such as ABC, New York Times and BBC. Most of the people reading (and posting to) Slashdot just fancy themselves nerds, as being a nerd is cool.

      • "as being a nerd is cool" Oxymoron?
      • for a person who fantasizes about the glamour and popularity that would be his if only he could be a nerd?

        Being a nerd isn't cool. But at least you have some respect and recognition from fellow nerds.
        • by daniil (775990) *
          Ack. You weren't supposed to take it literally.

          See, we're talking about two different things here. Two different persons. One is the nerd and the other is the image of a nerd. Actually being a nerd might not be cool, but being a "nerd" is, just like it's cool to be "green" and so on. Reading Slashdot and watching gaming programmes is a part of the image.

    • Write letters to the sponsers

      What I'd be more interested in conceptually is "Write letters to your cable company and demand they stop carrying G4".

      This wouldn't really work though unless something could be recommended to said cable companies to replace it, something that would have wider appeal than G4 and hopefully appeal to the people who used to watch TechTV. Is there any suitable such thing at this point in time?
      • OSTG, slashdot.org's parent company, has announced [ostg.com] a partnership with Comcast cable to start a slashdot cable network, called Slash.TV [slash.tv]. All shows will be commercial-free and will be available on the slash.tv website.

        You may use clips of the shows to make your own shows, as long as you allow others to do the same with the show you produce.

        OK, it's a troll, but who wouldn't want to see Taco and CowboyNeal hosting their own shows?

    • Classic business move. If you see competition, even if remote like in this case (game tv vs computer tv not really competition), then the easiest way to fight is not to fight. By them instead as if it's a good for all move. Then suck them dry for their useful bits and toss them to the curve, and since they no longer exist, your in the clear.

      Doesn't matter if your doomed too, you have at least a longer life without competition, and when you rebuild yourself you don't have any competition to start up agai
  • by Jaidon (843279) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:16PM (#11234428)
    ...I was imagining Garrison Keillor [wikipedia.org] narrating it just to keep from going into a coma.

    Seriously though, I agree with the other comments; mistakes have been made and now consequenes must be suffered...kudos to Dan!!

  • by richdun (672214) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:18PM (#11234436)
    So I happened to turn on G4TechTVwhatever the other day, and I was appauled. "The Screen Savers" is little more than the old name on a new, much campier, much less useful show. I mean, I never liked everyone on TSS, but those idiots on the air now seem to be up on tech less than most Best Buy employees (no offense to any Best Buy employees on here, just needed a good, recognizable generalization of people who know little about tech but because they work for a tech giant fool the general public into buying whatever the advertisers want).

    I think that's the most disappointing thing (see the parenthetical comment above): Leo and Patrick used to tell people not to buy this or that, seemed to be big fans of open source, security, etc. (of course in Leo's case it was a Mac-addiction, but that's ok), and even though they knew most of their audience was PC-based and had to cover them the most, tried to spread things out, give everyone a taste of everything, and if something sucked, would let everyone know about it. I remember them even going against IE before it was popular, and Paul Allen was their boss then. Now we just hear about the campy mainstream this thing is cool marketing drivel.

    Ah, but those were the days. Let's hope this isn't a precedent. What's next, Slashdot brought to you by Dell...*shutters*
    • I'm curious what CleverNickName [slashdot.org] has to say about this.

      Doesn't look like he's been very prolific since the Ask Wil Wheaton Anything Again story a couple weeks back, though.
  • by human bean (222811) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:20PM (#11234443)
    The purpose of a media company is to make money selling product and promoting the owner's point of view. This, in turn, means that viewer share is paramount, and that if you have to "fix" the content to get more viewer share, so be it.

    Viewers do not want reality. They get enough of it from work, raising children, the tax man, and the world in general. They want to associate, identify, and forget the crummy world they had to endure most of the day. The masses want Disney, okay?

    You should always remember a media business truism: "The public are morons". Media types will never say this out where you can hear them, but I have sat through enough conference room discussions to know where these folks land. The reason for this is simple. In the great statistical average of the world, it's true. As much as you would have it otherwise.

    It is said that only one person out of thirty creates art, literature, science, or policy. Skip media. Hang around those folks instead. Become one of them. We need all we can get.

    Yes, I consider the Internet to be media now...
    • You should always remember a media business truism: "The public are morons". Media types will never say this out where you can hear them, but I have sat through enough conference room discussions to know where these folks land.

      And these are the people who are struggling to make it in today's media. People don't like the we're-smarter-than-you attitude.

      I attribute much of Fox News's sucess to an understanding this. The common man may not be a genius, but he does know when he's being talked down to, and
  • New channel idea? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nxtr (813179) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:21PM (#11234451)
    If there is no longer a channel that appeals to geeks, why not create one? I'm see a huge market potential for it. There'd be millions watching it. Probably all the real geeks from TechTV would fly over, giving the channel some talent.

    Slashdot Channel anyone?
    • Yeah, but geeks torrent all their TV shows now.
    • Slashdot TV? I like that! It's a perfect marriage. TechTV was multimedia Slashdot as it was. They were symbiotes.

      All you TSS old timers reading this -- and I know you are -- harken to nxtr. This could have legs.
    • Problem is, so-called "geeks" are usually very well-informed about products that they buy. Which, obviously, is not what potential advertisers want AT ALL. It's hard to sell stuff to people who already know exactly what they want, and which online store will sell it to them for the lowest price.

      That's why G4 is so different from TechTV. They want to go after the clueless-but-rich-and-under-30 market.
    • If there is no longer a channel that appeals to geeks, why not create one?

      I've thought about this in the past... How many people are sick of the "surface" coverage of science and technology? I don't know if there is a big enough crowd to follow this kind of thing. On top of that how deep can you go with the coverage and still have a viewership that is still with you?
      • by 0racle (667029)
        There used to be several channels like this, PBS, Discovery, National Geographic, I remember watching a 2-3 hour Nova special on Voyager 2 and that was the greatest thing I had ever seen, the rose and superball in liquid nitrogen was quite good too. The nice thing was that when they appealed to people who wanted to know, they had shows that went in depth, and others that were more for those who were interested but didn't have the time to get all of the background before hand.

        Guess what, that type of TV sta
    • by amokk (465630) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @03:31PM (#11234788)
      Slashdot Channel?

      It'd be pretty funny to watch, but not for the reasons that you're probably thinking.

      The actors would be handed scripts with spelling errors and completely erroneous information. 90% of the time spent reporting any story would be a "panel of experts" comprised of anybody who's willing to call in. The seats on the set would be modelled after RMS in such a way that an erect, hard cock will be pushed into the ass of anybody who sat down (think: inverted bar stool). Anything and everything MS would be immediately criticized in favour or some pre-alpha-quality open source variant that compiles but doesn't do what it's actually supposed to do.

      Oh yeah, and every third show would be a rerun of something already aired that day.
  • TSS was steadily going downhill long before G4 got ahold of them. Once Leo Lapporte [leoville.com] it was all Patrick could do to stay afloat.

    I no longer Tivo'd TSS or any TechTV show after that.

    Summary.

    TechTV was good.
    G4 is horrible.
  • Boo for G4 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Saturday January 01, 2005 @02:37PM (#11234518) Homepage
    I used to love TSS, back in the ZDTV days. I liked alot of the shows. TechTV got some other good shows near the end of their life (I liked Invent This! tons). I'd never heard these aligations (I stoped watching TSS back in the TechTV days), but I can't say that I'm suprised at all.

    But G4 bought them out. The ONLY thing they have done right (in my opinion) is keep X-Play running (new episodes and they don't seem to have changed it much if at all). TSS is terrible. As far as I can tell (and my TiVo) there are no new episodes of Invent This!, Fresh Gear, or a few other shows since G4 took over. The G4 content (the only one I've ever really watched is Filter) seems amaturish (like a high budget public access cable show) and like marketing smothered it with "love". The host is an idiot, it's full of "cool stuff" (acording to marketing) and the show is just terrible. The show would be MUCH better if they would just drop the host. I've found nothing else on G4 that I like (with the exception of the occational episode of Icons).

    So for me, G4 has become the X-Play channel. Becuase they don't seem to want to make new episodes of the shows that they said they would keep (see above), that's the only thing I watch on the channel. When I first got satellite TV (DirecTV), one of the big reasons was so I could watch ZDTV. I got to watch The Screen Savers and all sorts of other interesting stuff (remember the show that would show computer animations made by people? That's how I discovered Animusic [animusic.com]). Over the years, the channel has deciled (as TechTV although that wasn't SO bad) to being about as high on my list of "good" as SpikeTV (I used to think the constant banner on the bottom of TNN was bad, how I wish for those days).

    All they have to do is mess up X-Play to lose me forever. Put someone with a BRAIN who is in touch with the AUDIENCE in charge of the channel, huh? Give it to Leo or SOMEONE. Because marketing is about to market me OUT of their audience.

    RIP G4/TechTV, it's been a long, sad decline.

    • Re:Boo for G4 (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bani (467531)
      bonnie hammer destroyed the scifi channel, turning it into a stupid horror/pyschic channel aimed at housewives. but at least they occasionally ran some good series.

      then scifi cancelled farscape.

      then those fucks at g4 destroyed techtv.

      so I cancelled cable. when they asked why, i told them - scifi and techtv had gone to shit.

      why pay $40/mo on cable when you can buy an entire season of episodes for $40, commercial free, on dvd, and watch them when you want and not when the networks dictate you should watch
  • Honest. But when I got to the sentence where he uses the phrase "the talent" to describe a group of people, I just had to stop. I mean, come on: A Site That Opens Your Mind To Computer Technology?! Oh, wow, thanks. I really needed that. Yes, thank you for opening my mind with your fucking website.
    • That's a dumb reason to think the article is bad. "Talent" is a standard term in TV to describe the person/people in front of the cameras. It is often used by the crew in an ironic [wikipedia.org] way (though some talent are amazing - you try winging a 48 second pitch for something, have it make perfect sense, not be repetitive, and end at a logical place at exactly 47.5 seconds).

  • That's Broadcasting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Synesthesiatic (679680) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @03:15PM (#11234691) Homepage
    I can't say I'm entirely surprised. As a journalism student I've seen that there's an inherent "fakeness" in broadcasting.

    It was worse for TV, but even in my radio class we "greened" our live interviews by pre-interviewing them off air and writing up questions. So the interviewee pretty much knew what to expect. A print reporter wouldn't typically do that.

    You know that back-and-forth the host sometimes does with a reporter (CBC radio uses this a fair bit)? It's all scripted ahead of time, the reporter just has to learn to sound conversational.

    But as I said, TV is worse. Ever notice a TV interview will go between the interviewee speaking and the interviewer nodding? There aren't two cameras there, the latter is called a reverse shot, and it's usually taken before the interview even starts. The interview audio is then dubbed over top. A reverse shot is a clue that the reporter is cutting something out, avoiding a "jump cut" between two different parts.

    Now I look at TV news a lot more critically, because they emphasize the appearance of "smoothness" and "continuity" over honesty.
  • Even X-Play Sucks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Go Aptran (634129) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @03:19PM (#11234711)
    The last few times I dared watch X-Play (about a month ago), I noticed that the show went from criticism, to showing cinematics and previews of upcoming games. Opinions seem to have been removed from the show. It was like a series of commercials interrupted by lame banter.

    At least Morgan was still hot... but that's just not enough anymore, so I tuned out forever.

    Well done Comcast...
    • by cqnn (137172) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @03:42PM (#11234856)
      You didn't watch enough. That was probably one
      of the theme episodes they occasionally did even
      when it was on TechTV.

      X-Play is one of the few things that seems to
      have improved (with opinions and critisism intact) since the merger.
    • by Detritus (11846)
      They've run a number of show dedicated to previews, but they still do a lot of reviews. For any given game, it usually appears on the show once as a preview (beta version) and once as a review (release version). They aren't shy about trashing bad games, which is something I appreciate. I've seen too many gamer magazines and web sites that rarely give anything a bad review.
  • by pappy97 (784268) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @03:21PM (#11234728)
    I think it is pretty clear that Comcast wanted to make use the TechTV trademark (because it's popularity was growing) to promote G4.

    Furthermore, I think it's cleat that Comcast has intentionally alienated hardcore TechTV viewers.

    I have had people who work in TV tell me that nobody tries to alienate any viewers, but I think it is more than clear that G4 wants TechTV viewers out and replace them with an MTV crowd.

    Want evidence of this? Look at the commercials. Gone are the cadillac commercials. Insert the goofy video game commercials, and some really stupid (dumbed down) computer hardware commercials. I saw an nViDiA commercial that actually explained what a GPU was!

    I figured such a commercial was more non-tech channel worthy, but when you consider G4 is driving out tech-oriented viewers for MTV gamers, these "dumb" commericals are quite appropo.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Cable channels regularly alienate viewers if they think they can pick up more from somewhere else. Look at TNN (The Nashville Network) -> TNN (The National Network) -> Spike TV. Gone are the Grand Ole Opry and Heehaw, in are video game awards, car pimping and cartoon versions of Pamela Anderson.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 01, 2005 @03:59PM (#11234935)
    Step 1) Pick up the old TSS staff for peanuts
    Step 2) Go back to the old formula: Interesting news, honest reviews, no shameless plugs
    Step 3) Profit.
  • by 2TecTom (311314) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @04:10PM (#11234980) Homepage Journal
    who is it protecting him?

    who is really calling the shots at G4?

    why is such incompetence allowed to continue?

    why is it the same at every big company I've worked for?

    why can't anyone in management actually effectively manage?

    sadly, it seems that power corrupts, and the corrupt are crappy in power
  • by jonfields (643711) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @05:14PM (#11235271)
    Well remember people, Leo Laporte is NOT gone. He's up in canada. And I suggest you all get your bit torrent clients read and start downloading episodes which are located at http://derekrodgers.uni.cc/callforhelp/ server is having a little trouble lately tho but check us out in chat, maybe someone has the .torrents ...its really the only thing left of the old tech tv.
  • by leolaporte (263297) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @07:08PM (#11235661) Homepage
    Just so it's clear, this is never something I would have countenanced when I was managing editor of The Screen Savers. And I know that my successor, Patrick Norton, would have brained anyone who suggested such a thing.

    We did sometimes pre-book calls - and I do it now on the Canadian version of Call for Help - for production reasons. But I always hated even doing that. I never do it on my radio show. But far worse is using "actors" to ask canned questions. That's just plain lying.

    Unfortunately, it doesn't surprise me.
  • And...SO?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BRSQUIRRL (69271) on Saturday January 01, 2005 @08:21PM (#11235895)
    Who cares? Any outrage about this is completely missing the point: Screen Savers is a lost cause.

    I remember religously watching Computer Chronicles with Stewart Cheifet when I was younger. I also used to watch TSS regularly; I even upgraded my cable package to one that included ZDTV just for the show. It was (although at times a bit basic) funny, informative, etc.

    I lost track of the show when they moved to L.A. and got rid of Pat and Leo. I turned it on a week or so ago just to see what was going on these days...just in time for an insightful discussion about the word "scrotum", complete with snorting and giggling from the new adolescent "hosts"...and a new set that looks like something that a 7 year old would come up with if you asked them to imagine their dream playroom.

    Thanks, Comcast...thanks for not only failing to recognize quality TV, but apparently actively setting out to flush it down the toilet.
    • Re:And...SO?? (Score:3, Informative)

      by ptudor (22537)

      I remember religously watching Computer Chronicles

      And, in case you/some-other-reader didn't know (Maybe there was a slashdot article about it on the weekend and you skipped it?), archive.org [archive.org] has mpegs of all the episodes.

      I lost track of the show when they moved to L.A.

      I haven't watched much G4 since the switch but the only show I liked and miss is Unscrewed with Martin Sargent (and co-host Laura Swisher [lauraswisher.com] [hi Laura! allow me to introduce myself...I'm #22537, and the only reason I'm on posting on slashd

  • by BenFranske (646563) on Sunday January 02, 2005 @12:38AM (#11236740) Homepage

    I know there are a lot of people interested in what some of the former TechTV employees are doing now. Most of them have webpages but Patrick Norton does not. For those wondering Patrick is currently doing freelance writing. Recent articles have appeared on ExtremeTech [extremetech.com], CNet [cnet.com] and PC-World [pcworld.com] amongst others.

    Again, Patrick does NOT have a website or blog but I do try to post links to articles he's writen on my blog [franske.com] as I run across them and as time allows.

  • My turn to rant. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by niteice (793961) <icefragment@gmail.com> on Sunday January 02, 2005 @09:30AM (#11238023) Journal
    I used to be a big fan of TechTV, up until May 7. That was effectively the end of TechTV to me. G4 basically took over the channel and replaced everybody with young, slightly more good-looking hosts.

    Message to G4 types: young, good-looking hosts don't make a show. People that know what they're talking about do.

    So now, G4TechTV sucks. It can't even be considered TechTV anymore- they completely revamped TSS into one of the most disgusting shows I have ever seen. The only good host is Keven Rose - is he still even with them? I haven't watched it since about September. And X-Play. It's the only show I *will* watch on there. At least Adam and Morgan got to stay. I dunno how they didn't get their personalities butchered.

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