Men’s magazine launches new network—for real this time
By Devin D. O’Leary
Let’s try this again, shall we? Way back in April, I reported on the newly minted Esquire Network. The televised spin-off of the long-running men’s magazine was slated to take over programming of the formerly video game-focused network G4 on April 22. At the time, I expressed a healthy amount of skepticism about Esquire’s ability to launch an entire television network based around exactly two docu-reality shows (one cooking show and one travel show). Obviously the executives in charge were listening to me because less than a week before the net was set to debut, Esquire pulled the plug.
In April 2002, G4 TV was launched. The basic cable network was geared toward young male viewers and centered around the world of video games. For years the specialized network gave viewers the scoop on what to play with shows like “Judgment Day,” “Cheat!,” “X-Play” and “Attack of the Show!” But television is in the midst of a major identity crisis.
Working as a cameraman in reality television has got to suck. Imagine the poor schmuck saddled with the task of filming the orange-tinted “Jersey Shore” cast members as they wallow in their herpes-laden hot tub, alternately sucking face and puking up Goldschläger. Or the guy whose job it is to follow Khloe Kardashian around all day waiting for her to do something “interesting.” Ugh. What if, then, you were suddenly offered the opportunity to point your camera at something real, something maybe even newsworthy. ... Congratulations, Bob, you no longer work for “The Bachelorette.” We’re transferring you to “Bomb Patrol: Afghanistan.”
Whether his life is labeled “shockingly short” or “appropriately short” is a judgment best left to historians (assuming future historians of our planet will be interested in early 21st century pop-cultural blips). But there’s definitely something poetically fitting in the fact that 34-year-old Ryan Dunn, a regular fixture on MTV’s “Jackass” and host of G4’s new show “Proving Ground,” died in a fiery car crash in the early morning hours of Monday, June 20.