G4TV Founder / CEO fired

Charles Hirschhorn, founder and CEO of G4TV, has been replaced. Hirschhorn is best known for leading the acquisition and transformation of the geek-Mecca “TechTV” television channel. Under his leadership, TechTV was dismantled and rebuilt as part of the video game-centric “G4TV”. Since then, G4TV’s ratings have declined steadily, and the channel’s tech-savvy viewers have disappeared.

The G4/TechTV merger also resulted in the unceremonious termination or resignation of popular tech-geek personalities from “TechTV” including Yoshi DeHerra, Dan Huard, Leo Laporte, and Patrick Norton. TechTV’s flagship show, “The Screen Savers”, was retooled toward a much younger audience with the majority of hardcore tech content removed. Eventually popular tech guru, Kevin Rose, also resigned to pursue more tech-centric ventures like founding the Revision3 IPTV network and “digg.com” technology news site.

While the American version of the channel has changed radically, “G4TechTV Canada” strived to maintain its specialty audience. By directly enlisting Leo Laporte, one of TechTV’s most seasoned broadcasters, it revived the very popular “Call for Help” tech-help show. Since then, “Call for Help 2.0” has been picked up by the “How-To” network in Australia. In a surprising reversal, Laporte recently announced a return of “Call for Help” to G4TV at the end of August, but outside of the prime-time slots.

Rose is hopeful that Hirschhorn’s departure signals a return to technology broadcasting for G4TV. “Will the new CEO add more tech programming? Time will tell,” he says in his blog. Meanwhile, disgruntled “TechTV” fans are cheering the move by the channel’s owner, Comcast.

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