Earlier this month, it was announced that the beloved video-game channel G4 would be getting rebranded as the Esquire Network. The new network will focus on interests of the modern man, such as technology, fashion, travel, entertainment, and edgy competition series.
G4 is far from the first TV network to disappear into obscurity. Over the course of TV history, many networks have been rebranded or retired entirely. From golden oldies to more recently departed stations, here's a brief rundown of some once-famous networks that simply no longer exist.
The DuMont NetworkOther than a one-off joke on "Family Guy," most TV fans today have never even heard of the DuMont Network. In one Season 2 episode of "Family Guy," Death visits the Griffin household and jests that their TV set is so old, it probably still gets the DuMont Network. It's a funny joke, because DuMont was only in operation from 1946 to 1956.
Despite the fact that DuMont predated both ABC and CBS, it was notable for being well ahead of the times when it came to advertising. While most other networks of the time had corporations sponsor their shows (thus giving creative control to those sponsors), DuMont pioneered the modern idea of selling commercial air time to multiple advertisers in order to ensure that no sponsor could have "veto" power over a show's creative direction.
DuMont was home to America's very first sitcom, the first network game show, and the first soap opera in American TV history. It was also the network where "The Honeymooners" debuted. DuMont was the home of the first U.S. TV show to star an Asian-American lead and the first TV series hosted by an African-American woman. Sadly, despite being racially and artistically progressive, ongoing money problems brought a swift end to this promising network's future.
UPNUPN launched in 1995 and quickly became noted for their "urban" programming with shows like "Moesha" and "Everybody Hates Chris," as well as sci-fi favorites like "Star Trek: Voyager," "Star Trek: Enterprise," and "The Sentinel."
However, by 2006, the network had been shut down and merged with The WB. Two days after that merger, The WB itself was also shut down and rebranded as The CW. That must have been one tough week for the folks working at TV Guide.
The Badger Television NetworkThe Badger Network was one of the shortest lived "networks" in American TV history. The network, which consisted of just three Wisconsin TV stations that were all affiliated with ABC, featured its own original programming for a few hours a day. With a small stable of programs, like the variety show "Pretzel Party" and the quiz show "Homemaker's Holiday," the Badger Network only lasted for eight months in 1958.
The BoxLaunched in 1981, this music video network was unlike anything else out there. It was something of an underground phenomenon: Viewers would call a 900 number to order up the music videos they wanted to see, and the video would play within about 20 minutes. That seems intolerably slow by today's YouTube-influenced standards, but it was cutting edge at the time. Hey, it beat sitting around for hours waiting for your favorite video to play on MTV.
The Box was also great because it was often ahead of what MTV was playing. Most notably, the hit Britney Spears single "Baby One More Time" was popular on The Box long before MTV started playing it in heavy rotation. In 2001, MTV bought out The Box and replaced it with MTV2.