America's Got Cable: G4 vs. Spike

Welcome to another pulse-pounding week of America's Got Cable: The Search for the Nation's Finest Basic Cable Channel!

OLD BUSINESS: The readers of TV.com have spoken and the winner of last week's tussle between Animal Planet and National Geographic Channel is...


**************************National Geographic Channel**************************

Despite not reaching the same number of homes that Animal Planet does, NatGeo was able to secure the win based on a general sense of goodwill toward the channel and the voters' preference for more educational programming. Also, I should point out that I got some facts wrong (Monster Fish predates River Monsters), and even though I watch way more Animal Planet (my brain melted a long time ago), I heartily endorse this victory. NatGeo deserves to catch a break every now and again!

Oh, and one more thing, since several commenters brought it up: This bracket is jam-packed with apples vs. oranges situations. That's life. If you thought that Animal Planet and NatGeo weren't similar enough to compare, then you're missing the point of this exercise. It's not about ideal match-ups, it's about entertainment value—what YOU are watching. An effort was made to match up smaller channels in the early rounds, but the overriding question will always be the same: Which channel do you PREFER? I'm simple that way.


NEW BUSINESS: This week's battle will will be fought with noogies and wedgies!


G4

Background: From its initial concept to its present state, G4 is like MTV but with video games and little-to-no appeal for women. Ever since its birth in 2002, G4 has even followed the same trajectory that MTV took, in that it originally only had videogame content, but nowadays trades on general "lifestyle" content that's only tangentially related to videogames. Behind the scenes, G4 has gone through some ups and downs, including briefly merging with TechTV before swallowing it whole, then being forced to downsize its staff, programming slate, and studio, along with the added indignity of getting dropped from the DirecTV lineup due to "low interest" (but more likely behind-the-scenes businessman backstabbery). That said, if ever a cable channel was capable of having a cult following, G4 is definitely that channel.

Original Programming: Someone at G4 must have realized that only like seven videogames are released each year (and people would rather PLAY them than hear about them), so the videogame-related shows have fallen by the wayside. However, G4 has kept its dude-centric mission statement with brogramming like Ninja Warrior, Campus PD, Jump City: Seattle and That's Tough. But really, it all comes down to G4's flagship not-quite-daily show, Attack of the Show. It's a manic, colorful, pop-culture smorgasbord hosted by the insanely charming Kevin Peirera and his revolving slate of articulate hotties (currently Candace Bailey, but at one point Olivia Munn of Perfect Couples).

Reruns: G4's reruns range from guilty pleasures (Cops, Cheaters) to movies that don't suck (Movies That Don't Suck).

Why It's The Best: Though frenetic and almost Japanese in its energy levels, G4 has one of the most distinctive sensibilities of any channel on television. It's basically the nerd who got buff over the summer, with the personality to match. Plus, it gives airtime to some genuinely funny and talented people.

Why It's The Worst:: Not to be cynical, but G4 is a channel that was invented by billionaires to sell advertising geared toward teenage boys. Although it was most flagrant at its inception, even G4's current lineup is laced with enough paid product placements and paid "reviews" to rival the height of the 1950s payola scandals. Remember when G4 changed its name to 4G for a week? Real cool.


SPIKE

Background: Few cable channels have followed the kind of twisty path to the screen that Spike has. In one of the more infamous transformations in cable history, Spike was originally known as The Nashville Network, which was launched in 1983 and broadcast directly out of the now-defunct theme park Opryland USA. We're talking old-school southern programming: Fishing, NASCAR, and Grand Ole Opry. In the late '90s, TNN was acquired by Viacom, which also controlled CMT—thus Viacom decided to avoid redundancy by rechristening TNN The National Network and shifting its focus more toward pro wrestling and Baywatch reruns. But much like KFC's failed attempt to insist its initials stood for "kitchen-fresh chicken," the general public just simply could not forget about TNN's Nashville origins. Finally, in 2003 (and despite a lawsuit from Spike Lee himself), TNN was rebranded Spike TV and marketed as the first TV channel for GUYS. (Sorry ESPN!)

Original Programming: Even more than G4, Spike overtly courts the male demographic. Many of its shows involve pro wrestling and mixed martial arts; see The Ultimate Fighter, one of Spike's longest running series. A few years ago, Spike threw its hat into the scripted-comedy ring with Blue Mountain State, a raunchy, genuinely funny college football comedy, and recent addition Coal finds Spike continuing the trend of reality documentaries about terrible, awful workplaces.

Reruns: Currently reruns of CSI and CSI:NY take up huge swaths of the Spike schedule. But you'll also find reruns of Entourage and frequent rebroadcasts of the Star Wars and James Bond films.

Why It's The Best: Spike's always good for a cheap thrill, whether it's the insane, dubbed version of MXC; hugging underwear hunks (SORRY, that's what MMA looks like to me); or the great movie selection.

Why It's The Worst: Putting aside the fact that Spike's mission statement excludes more than half of the population outright, Spike also has a strange idea of what a "man" is. There are tons of dudes out there, but how many of them are actually interested in a reality show about Sandra Bullock's ex-husband or coal mining? Call me crazy, but I think guys actually just like entertaining television?


Official TV.com Verdict:

I'm gonna throw this one to G4. It's like one step up from being a cable access channel, and I love that about it.

But now it's YOUR turn! COMMENT BELOW and tell us your verdict: G4 or Spike? And make your case! What do you love or hate about each channel?


Click below to see the full tournament bracket, and read previous America's Got Cable stories here.

Comments (88)
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This is like choosing between urine and vomit, but I'd go with Spike. They're both mainly just "rerun channels" since their original programming sucks other than UFC and I've heard good things about Blue Mountain State. I had to lol at how wrong/stupid the "seven video games a year" line was, since it's more like over 7 video games a week come out. Not to mention, video games generate more revenue than the film and TV industries. Overall, G4 is a bad mix of product placement, lame geeky/nerdy, trying too hard (with the "hot chicks" like Olivia Munn), and it has a hipster vibe, which is always annoying. I would actually say G4, BET, and Fox News are easily the worst channels.
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G4 all the way
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whats wrong with coal mining
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Neither. I miss TechTV. =\
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G4
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For one, i am a girl who tends to love watching both channels. Spike has Deadliest Warrior and 1,000 Ways to Die which are extremely diffucult to compete with. But, i have to give this one up to G4. I can't tell you how often my brothers and I crowd around the tv to watch Ninja Warrior, Attack of the Show, or one of the many Movies That Don't Suck.
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I give the edge to Spike for Manswers, Afro Samurai, 1000 ways to Die and Deadliest Warrior. When I turn to G4, i mainly get reruns of cops. They could add a little more diversity to their schedule. Also Attack of the Show isn't worth watching without Olivia Munn.
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spike rocks
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Spike. Love me some racing cars!
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G4 without a doubt
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I like G4, but how can anyone pick it over Spike when Spike has the Ultimate Fighter, Blue Mountain State, and Manswers?
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G4 all day baby. yeah i like spike. they got 1,000 ways to die and they constantly are showing star wars movie reruns but how can that compare to all the gaming and tech bliss of AOTS and X-play and the new up and coming sport of professional parkour, and lets not forget to mention NINNNNNNJJJJJA WARRRRRRIIIIIIOR!!!! This have been watching G4 since they started as a network and I can see them being up there with major network like TBS, TNT, and USA in the next 10 years.the variety of shows that are on G4 waaay trumps what Spike has. Also i am a man, and when i watch Spike i feel the uncontrollable urge to juice my pecks......no thank you!
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Spike. I'm not a gamer, so G4 doesn't do anything for me. Plus, Spike has the UFC which trumps everything G4 has.
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G4.



And I am surprised no mention of X-Play, which covers every new video game release on multiple platforms, and judges games objectively, not by a "popularity" aspect *cough*Gamer.TV*cough* And no mention of "Code Monkeys?"



And G4 has been (getting better) coverage of conventions, which no other channel can boast of, I think. Also, I think you are off base on the "billionaires to sell advertising" comment, since G4 seems to consistently take every product through the ringer and not play favorites if a product comes up short, which includes DVDs.



Price Peterson, you did put the nail on the head of how G4 bought and cannibalized Tech TV for it's programming and staff, and gave them scripts and make-up departments, while removing the "free and loose" nature of Tech TV ("Unscrewed with Martin Sargent" seems to have been injected into "Attack of the Show" and Kevin Pereira, strangely enough). This is a regular complaint from many critical fans who began watching the channel in the early 2000's.



And seeing the commenters, G4, though "aimed at males 18-34" covers a broader audience since the channel seems more geared towards the internet/gamer culture. I think they could take advantage of this by acquiring internet shows and giving them a professional studio *hint*TheGuild*hint*, which would be like what MTV did (Tom Green).
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Spike might have better reruns, but G4 has a better personality. I love Ninja Warrior, Jump City, and Chris Harkwick on Web Soup is adorable. AOTS is fun but I rarely watch it. I could live without the COPS and Cheaters reruns. As a woman I really like kind of programming and topics these channels cover, but I feel like Spike really works hard to alienate female viewers.
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My vote is for G4
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I'm going to go with Spike but only because i have never watched anything on g4. Maybe if I had I would be choosing g4.
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simple g4 caue i was on it and still am some of the time
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G4= I love this Channel....
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Spike!!!
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G4, Attack of the Show/X Play/Movies/Kevin Pereira
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Spike
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G4!!!
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G4 ...because it has something for everyone. Plus, geeks rule the world.
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G4 because of AOTS
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G4! I am absolutely 100% addicted to AOTS, X-play, and jump city!
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G4 shows MMA and kick boxing too. Get your data filled accordingly.
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G4 Duh Winning. Marvel Anime is going to be awesome can't wait.
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G4 all the way. Attack of the Show is such a great show.
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Spike. **** G4 for killing TechTV
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I say G4 cuz of X-Play, Attack of the Show, Ninja Warrior, and sometimes the Movies That Don't Suck is good, they just need a bigger selection of movies. So G4, Attack of the Show, and BUSTICE! FTW!
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G4 wins simply because it's a product of the modern age. Tech reviews and shows about stuff that's important to people growing up now. Spike caters mainly to the beer and pretzels crowd... and that's it. G4 caters to the geek crowd... AND some of the beer and pretzels crowd. Besides, that CSI crap has been done to death. Spike has some cool moments, but G4 is the main event. (As long as they don't add wrestling to their lineup...)
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G4, duh!
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G4!!!! all the way
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G4! I'm a girl who LOVES Ninja Warrior, American Ninja Warrior, and Jump City: Seattle! MXC was amazing but I never see it on anymore, so ..... Spike only has Deadliest Warrior but that's no competition for Mt Midoriyama!
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G4

Spike has some good shows, but Ninja Warrior is where it's at! And don't forget Jump City, AoTS, and X-Play!
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G4! Of course.
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G4!!!
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G4 because of AOTS, ANW, and Jump City Seattle.
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G4 for Ninja Warrior, American Ninja Warrior, Jump City Seattle and other parkour programming. And DirecTv are idiots for not providing this channel for their subscribers. Hail Dish!
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G4 All the way!!
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G4!
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G4 4 teh win!
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G4. I hate Spike. BTW, I an a girl and I love a lot of shows on G4. Quit with the misogyny.
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G4!!!
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G4 all the way. I really can't stand Spike.
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G4!!!!!!1
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g4
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G4 All the way
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