What's the Better Channel, ESPN or G4?

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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.

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