What's the Better Channel, ESPN or G4?


It turns out TV.com voters only enjoy home invasions when they involve friendly camera crews! Congratulations to...

But only by the slimmest of margins! I liked these comments:

Dudekotka: "Lifetime, because it's hilariously bad."

ChristinaCass: "HGTV because I've never seen the same House Hunters twice, but I've seen the same episodes of Reba five times."

Mate: "We really need a 'none of the above' option."

 


This week's match-up is a classic battle of jocks versus nerds!

Background: A trio of private citizens dreamed up and then launched a network called the Entertainment & Sports Programming network ("ESP" for short) way back in 1979. Filling a head-smacker of a gap in the cable and satellite universe, the network was an immediate hit. Its flagship show, SportsCenter, almost instantly established the network as being a go-to for lively sports commentary and scores, while the network's deep ties with NCAA and professional sports franchises meant it could fill its schedule with the very sought-after games the major networks couldn't air. Disney purchased ESPN in the late '90s, which only strengthened its power, and the network has minted numerous on-air celebrities including Craig Kilborn and Keith Olbermann.

Original Programming: In addition to year-round coverage of NFL, MLB, NBA, and NCAA events, ESPN's original content includes SportsCenter, College Gameday, Outside the Lines, Around the Horn, Baseball Tonight, SportsNation, Mike and Mike, Jim Rome Is Burning, and a series of prestigious ESPN documentaries.

Reruns: Not much use for reruns when the sports world never takes a day off.

Why It's the Best: In addition to being a titan in its field, ESPN has some of the funniest personalities and promos on cable.

Why It's The Worst: We don't ALL love sports.

 

Background: From its initial concept to its present state, G4 is like MTV but with video games and even more emphasis on young dudes. Ever since its birth in 2002, G4 has even followed the same trajectory that MTV took, in that it originally only had video game content, but nowadays trades on general "lifestyle" content only tangentially related to video games. 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 clandestine businessman backstabbery). That being 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 video games are released each year (and people would rather PLAY them than hear about them), so most of the video-game-related shows have fallen by the wayside. However, G4 has kept to its dude-centric mission statement with brogramming like Ninja Warrior, Campus PD, Web Soup, and Jump City: Seattle. 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).

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? Very cool.



Official TV.com Verdict
Don't mean to shock anybody, but sports aren't really my thing. G4!


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


Click below to see the full tournament bracket:


Note: Because we started with an odd number of channels, we gave some of the bigger channels a first-round bye.


Want to catch up on past battles? Head over to the America's Got Cable archives.

Comments (60)
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In my mind, the real question for me isn't ESPN or G4, it's SportsNation or Ninja Warrior. And while I do love video games and ninjas, the crazy antics of Colin and Beadles on SN just barely beats out G4. ESPN.
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G4 for the win! I do enjoy sports, but if I am not watching the games I want to see Twitter tells me what's happening. When I sit down to watch TV G4 comes on way more then I would like to admit. I don't watch it for the video games, so its lack of gaming shows doesn't bug me.
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Why do either of these channels exist? With both video games and sports the idea is to actually play them yourself. So neither.
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ESPN. It's not as great as it was at it's pick, but it's still great. Oh, and Hannah Storm. Enough said.
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G4, if only for Cops and Candace.

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what a silly waste of space this article is
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G4!!!!
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I HATE ESPN! G4 wins it for me!
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uuuhhhh....really having this debate right now?......ESPN. I love video games but why watch tv about them when you can play them????? In thirty minutes I can catch up on the sports of the day...not to mention all the other great talk shows and games they have.....Can't even believe this is a debate.....ESPN!
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Why watch tv about sports when the whole idea is to play them...
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I love Attack of the Show, but watch way more ESPN. Not even close.... ESPN.
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Really, G4? That "video game channel" with a whopping half hour a day actually devoted to video games? I don't think so
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g4!!!
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People actually watch ESPN? On purpose?



G4.
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The question should really be: SportsCenter or Attack of the Show? The only shows that truly matter for each network. I watch a lot more Attack of the Show than SportsCenter so I'm going with G4.
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ESPN
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TOTALLY ESPN!!!
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ESPN
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I'm gonna go with G4 cause I loved Singled Out. That's an acceptable reason, right?
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ESPN
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ESPN. Even of you don't like sports, 30 for 30 is brilliant. They have some of the best documentaries I've ever seen.
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ESPN.

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ESPN has gotten a little crappy over the years, but as a huge sports fan, I'm still voting for ESPN easily. I still watch both PTI and ATH whenever I have time and see it on.



The idea of G4 is cool, but a whole network for video games is really hard to pull off well.
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ESPN! Tony and Mike all day long.
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ESPN
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I've never once had my tv turned to ESPN



so G4 for me
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I choose G4, even if only because of the overexcited Japanese narrator on Ninja Warrior.

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G4. Hate sports. Dont play video games but more into the geeky stuff in general
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ESPN
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G4 because i like games more than I like sports but ESPN does have some good shows i just dont watch sports very much. Id watch G4 more if they aired live streams like the DOTA 2 Finals /w commentary, but it still wins.
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ESPN gets my vote. I think you are undervaluing the documentaries they do. While both channels have a mostly static programming line up that consists a lot of rinse and repeat, ESPN once and awhile has some serious knock it out of the park home runs with their documentaries. ESPN 30 for 30 stuff is sometimes just epic and while involving sports, usually goes beyond that. Some great examples include "The Announcement" (Magic Johnson's annoucement/retirement due to aids), "The Real Rocky" (self explanatory), "The Fab Five" (like a real life "Blue Chips" story).



On the argument against G4, they brought us things like Web Soup and American Ninja. Seriously? I'm sorry, but G4 doesn't bring anything remotely deep or interesting to the table. I am a fan of AOTS and have watched it since maybe 2005 so the vs. fight is something that I feel does pertain to me, but I think its a little dumb that the premise "I don't watch sports" is enough to shoot down a channel that does in depth reporting as opposed to Cops reruns and some couch interviews with hot geek chicks.



Sidenote: if you look at the people choosing G4 over ESPN, have you noticed that almost none of them have mentioned a positive for G4 but instead only offer up a negative for ESPN?
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The E Entertainment Channel channel brought us web soup not G4
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E has The Soup previously Talk Soup. Web Soup is like The Soup with Tosh.0's content.
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ESPN. They have been consistently reporting sports news for a long time now. They know their purpose.
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I'm over ESPN. And I love Chris Hardwick so G4.
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G4 for me
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G4 : Although I like watching Sports , A person can watch only so much of The Same Episode of Sportcenter over and over and over, unless drunk
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ESPN: Because the only sports I don't watch are Cricket and Nascar.
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That's funny. NASCAR is the only sport I DO watch.
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ESPN gets my vote, they are on-message and take an active role in the sports world. They cover stuff that the mainstream outlets won't touch. I don't even like sports most of the time and I still can find something to watch on ESPN once in a while.



G4 is unwatchably bad, fosters some of the most annoying personalities, and is consistently wrong or generic on everything geek they cover. They also are one of the most "punch me in the face" annoying presences at Comic Con every year -- their booth is huge and obnoxious while offering people absolutely nothing, and their roving camera crews are always getting in the way.
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G4. I have never cared about watching Sports. I love playing sports but...I don't have the motivation to pick teams on sports live.
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G4 even though it rarely has anything worth watching. It does sometimes. Even if I watch sports that's ESPN3.
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Hm ... G4 is not so bad at all...

Still, ESPN is just great and a leader in sports throughout the world(!). And in comparison they do it quite well.

So ESPN.
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I never watch ESPN so G4 it is.
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ESPN wins. I care about sports probably less than most people you will ever meet and I am a HUGE nerd. That said, I never watch G4 (wasn't even aware of its existence until about a year ago), and occasionally flip on ESPN for the tennis updates (Federer!) Also, if this conversation were being had anywhere else on the internet, it would be ESPN WINS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Vs. "what's that channel's name again?", and if we truly are searching for "America's Best Cable Channel", that should be taken into account. Nobody goes to this site for sports news. There are a lot of things this site does well and I love it, but sports isn't one of them. If ESPN doesn't at least make it to the Quarterfinals, I'd say we're not doing our job responsibly (but what do I know).
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Tough one. I don't really care about either of them and whichever one gets though will be trounced by SyFy (despite how annoying SyFy can be), so it doesn't really matter.

Having said that, I like sports more than video games, so ESPN gets my vote.
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G4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Tough call, both networks are 90% not watchable to me whether it be sports I don't watch or reruns of COPS. To answer this I'll boil it down to the top shows from both networks: Sportscenter VS. Attack of the Show...and I hate Sportscenter so the winner is G4!
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HGTV over Lifetime really, this is why are country is bad shape, can't even vote on simple things Lifetime is so much better than HG , Vh1 is the worst cable network by far but some how it defeated CMT,ABC Family is much better than Cartoon Network past and present,and Disney is so much better than Nick!! so this should be an absolute NO BRAIN-ER ESPN ESPN ESPN ESPN ESPN if some how ESPN loses this Tournament of the networks is null and void!!!
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I agree, this is (tv.com world only) controversial matchup. ESPN must win this one.
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ESPN, Sportsnation for the win!
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G4, despite Olivia Munn.
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Any network that would put Olivia Munn on television does ... NOT get my vote. Second least funny person ever and I can't stand the ridiculously over-the-top pandering to male hormones.



ESPN!
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G4 cuz I'm a nerd.
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Staff
ESPN, but its closer than you might think. SportsNation, Around the Horn and PTI are what keep it entertaining and watchable. AOTS for G4.
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not even close ESPN all the way like 99 percent to1 percent a landslide
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Staff
ESPN used to be the only reason I had cable. Now its AMC, HBO and FX. Not much of a landslide since I DVR AOTS every day. I dont have to watch ESPN everyday.
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I also DVR a lot actually I have two DVR"s I watch AMC, FX, USA, TNT, ABCFAMILY, SYFY,TNT,LIFETIME,NICK,CARTOON ,BBCA,DISNEY, SHOWTIME,HBO,STARZ,USA,plus the locals, and of course the ESPN Family, but this doesn't change a think ESPN in a landslide
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