EXCLUSIVE: Russell Arons, an experienced digital executive who joined G4 TV last September as president, has exited the recently revived network.
Arons, who has previously held senior-level positions at Warner Bros, Machinima and Electronic Arts, left her G4 post in July, multiple insiders confirmed to Deadline. Her departure came less than a year after her arrival was announced, and the exact circumstances remain unclear. Comcast Spectacor, the Philadelphia-based entertainment and sports division of Comcast that runs G4, declined to comment. Arons did not respond to a request for comment from Deadline.
Joe Marsh, an executive with extensive gaming-related experience at Comcast Spectacor, is expanding his role to encompass many of Arons’ former duties. Marsh is currently serving as CEO of T1, an international esports joint venture between Comcast Spectacor and Korea’s SK Telecom. Marsh was previously chief business officer for the Philadelphia Fusion, an esports team formed by Comcast Spectacor in 2017.
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The current iteration of G4 is smaller and less focused on traditional linear TV than was its predecessor. It has announced a programming slate including a revived version of original G4 mainstay Attack of the Show! as well as comedic interview show Xplay, esports comedy Boosted, Japanese competition series Ninja Warrior, esports competitions and Dungeons & Dragons limited series.
Along with putting content on YouTube and social media, G4 has a multi-year agreement with Twitch and pay-TV distribution deals with Verizon FiOS, Cox, Xfinity TV and Philo.
G4 originally launched in 2002 and was created by former Disney TV exec Charles Hirschhorn, who saw it as a successor to MTV in its potential to tap into youth culture. A number of notable personalities appeared on the network as hosts, among them Olivia Munn, Chris Hardwick, Kevin Pereira and Grace Helbig.
After it went dark in 2014, G4’s place on the dial was taken over by the Esquire Network, which would prove to be a short-lived branding exercise. Amid a groundswell of enthusiasm on social media, new owner Comcast Spectacor revealed plans at Comic-Con’s virtual 2020 edition for the network’s return.
“We made a promise to fans that we would build this network with their input and are proud to say that our promise has been kept,” Arons said in a press release last fall about the network’s revival. “At G4, we never stopped playing and can’t wait to have our fans join us in our hilarious and fairly preposterous sandbox.”
Despite the abundant online enthusiasm for G4, the network’s financial footprint is small enough not to merit a mention in Comcast’s most recent SEC filings. Comcast Spectacor, which also owns the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center arena in Philadelphia, is accounted for in the “corporate and other” part of Comcast’s income statements. In 2021, annual revenue in that segment totaled $461 million. Other components of “corporate and other” include the company’s X-Class TV and Sky Glass smart-TV ventures as well as a new streaming initiative involving Comcast and Charter Communications.
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