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CleverNickName's Journal: Why I quit G4 81

Journal by CleverNickName

Back in summer, Travis Oates and I quit our jobs hosting "Arena" on G4.

Since then, I have been overwhelmed with emails from people, wanting to know why we quit.

It's a long story, but here's a very short version:

The producer I was working with was, in my opinion, an amateur. Horribly unprofessional, he treated me and my partner with shocking contempt and disrespect.

For months before I finally left, the producers of the show treated my co-host, Travis Oates, like he had never worked on a show in his life. Travis has created and executive produced several shows. He is currently writing a book, and has won several awards for his work. Travis deserved their respect, but they never gave it to him.

Travis was very active on the Arena message boards, and when we suddenly dropped CounterStrike from our show, the fans asked him why. Travis asked te producer what he should tell them. The producer told Travis that Valve had decided not to sign a waiver, which would protect the network from a lawsuit if some stupid kid decided to shoot up his school and blame it on CS. Travis relayed this information to the fans, and someone from Valve read it. Apparently this made the person from Valve very unhappy, and this person complained to G4. The brass at the network was furious, and blew up at Travis about it. The producer, who had explicitly told Travis what to say, never spoke up on Travis' behalf. He sat back, and let Travis get blamed for just following the producer's instructions. As a matter of fact, the producer had the nerve to send Travis an e-mail, where he blasted Travis for speaking without permission.

When we suddenly dropped DOA3 from Arena, the fans wanted to know why. Again, Travis asked the producer what to tell them. The producer told Travis that we'd cut the game from Arena because an executive at Comcast, G4's parent company, was "personally offended by Dead Or Alive 3," so it had been pulled not only from Arena, but from the entire network as well. Travis conveyed this information to the fans, via the message board, and when the G4 executives read it, they freaked out more intensely than the Valve people had. Travis was threatened with termination, and again the producer sat back and said nothing. He did fire off another terse, official-sounding e-mail to cover his ass. This producer's treatment of Travis, and the network's complicity, was strike one.

When Microsoft and G4 teamed up to have the HALO National Finals on Arena, our producer treated the players like they were scum. As early as our first production meeting, he was talking about them like they were an annoyance, and lucky to even be on the show. My efforts to make sure that the players, who had come from all over the country to play the game and were competing for major prizes, were treated well, were met with constant resistance from everyone except one executive at G4. The HALO finals should have been one hour long (44 minutes of show, with the balance being commercials), but the network refused. They insisted that it be cut down to 23 minutes, and it ended up looking like crap. It was the HALO freaking National Finals, and it looked like something on UHF. It was boring and stiff. I asked the editor why it was so bad. He told me that he'd cut together an hour-long version, and it was funny and exciting. The network refused, and the producer couldn't be bothered to fight with them to make the show better. I realized that the producer was lazy, and that as long as he was involved, the show wouldn't ever grow into something that I'd be proud of. This was strike two.

Because this producer was rude, arrogant, and treated the players badly, the reputation of the show was quickly soiled within gaming circles, and it was hard to recruit new players for the show. Players who did show up were often made to wait around for hours while the producers tried to get their act together, and when they grew restless, they were reminded how lucky they were to even be there, and get some free pizza.

Because he wasn't doing his job, the producer often could not get two teams of eight players together every other week to play our games. When he found that there weren't enough players for the games, he grabbed people people who worked for G4 to play against the "champion" teams. They'd sometimes have players from the "champion" teams join the "challenger" team. Not surprisingly, the players on the "challenger" team who were from the "champion" team did not often play their best, ensuring that their real, champion team would win.

I didn't know about this practice until our 13th episode. When I found out, I expressed to the producer that I was very concerned. I felt that it was dishonest, and I was upset that he'd lied to me and to our audience about the validity of the games on Arena. I told him that it put me in an awkward position, because I wouldn't go along with lying to the audience.

In addition to being arrogant and unprofessional, this producer was also very dishonest, He didn't care that the show was essentially faked, and when I asked him how we would explain to the audience that the challenging team had players from G4 on it, he instructed me to "make something up" to justify the situation.

I felt that my integrity was on the line. I refused, and after numerous attempts to reach a compromise with him, I finally talked to his boss about it.

His boss claimed to know nothing about the faking of the game play rounds, and was very upset that the producer wasn't securing new players for each episode. He told me that he couldn't believe that the producer was unable to find four players in a span of two weeks, and told me that he'd speak with the producer, and get back to me.

About 30 minutes later, my producer called me. I told him that I was glad to hear from him (he'd been avoiding me for days) and asked him what we were going to do about the episode.

His response was to scream at me, call me names, and tell me that I was "a fucking bullshit asshole" for going over his head and complaining to his boss.

I told him that I understood why he was upset, and suggested that calling me names wasn't the most professional way to deal with this situation. I reminded him that we wouldn't be in this position if he'd gotten the players like he was supposed to.

His response was to continue screaming at me.

Now, I've been an actor for 23 years. I've worked in all levels of the industry, with all sorts of people, and I have never, never been screamed at that way. Nobody has ever treated me with such open disdain and disrespect, and I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

I tried to calm him down, and told him again that we needed to talk about the show. I told him that lying to the audience was a real problem.

He responded, "No, Wil. The real problem is you, you fucking asshole! You had no right to go over my fucking head and talk to my fucking boss! This is complete BULLSHIT, Wil, this is -- "

Something in me snapped, and I blew up. If I'd been face to face with him, it would have taken several people to pull me off him. I told him to shut the fuck up, and be a professional.I told him that in my entire career, nobody had ever spoken to me the way he did. I told him that this was his problem, because he didn't do his job . . .

And he hung up. It was the last time I ever spoke with him.

I called Travis, my co-host and very good friend, and told him that I wanted him to know what had happened, because I was calling the network to quit when I hung up with him.

Travis calmed me down, and somehow talked me into sticking around for the episode, which was called "Team UMM vs. Team Leftovers." I finally agreed that I would do the episode, but I would tell the audience that the other team didn't show up to play against UMM, so we pulled together whoever was hanging around at the time, and called them "Leftovers."

Yeah, it wasn't true, but it was as close as I was going to get. In retrospect, I should have quit right then, but I felt a loyalty to Travis and the show's fans. I decided to shoot this "leftovers" episode, and deal with the problems when we were done. Of everything that happened, this is the only choice I regret.

When we shot the episode, the producer skulked around like a child, and there were countless mysterious "technical" problems that we'd never had before. Travis and I were forced to stop and start over and over again, and it became clear to us after an hour or so that the producer was fucking with us.

We finished the episode, and I spent the following week working on the script for the next show. When I went to pick up my paycheck that week, I saw that my pay had been inexplicably cut by over 2/3. I knew that the producer had done this, and when I called my bosses at the network to get to the bottom of it, nobody would give me a straight answer. In subsequent meetings with the network heads, I was informed that my pay would remain insultingly low for at least the next two years, and there was no plan to increase the budget on my show. G4 had no intention of removing this producer who had driven me and Travis away from the network, or any of the other producers who were driving good talent away.

Strike Three. G4 is out.

There is a culture of dishonesty and hubris at G4 that would make an ambulance-chasing lawyer cringe, and I couldn't be part of it. I understand that the blame for my quitting has been placed on another producer, who was fired just before I quit. This is not true. It has also come to my attention that the very producer who treated us so badly has been telling people that he had me fired. For anyone keeping score at home, it is entirely because of this producer, and his outrageous treatment of both me and Travis that I quit.

Despite all of this, there are a couple of good people who work there: mostly writers, who are doing the very best they can in an incredibly hostile environment. One person in particular, Brian Malley, was one of the hardest working people I've ever been around in 20 years of acting. Arena could not have functioned without him. The guys who actually work in the studio where we taped were all great, as well. It's truly unfortunate that the entire show was headed up by such a jerk.

I haven't seen the new hosts, but I understand that the audience hates them pretty uniformly. I would say to give them a chance. I'm sure they're doing the best they can with their material . . . but I fear that they are going to ride this sinking ship all the way down.

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Why I quit G4

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  • Dude (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AntiFreeze (31247) <antifreeze42@nospaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday January 07, 2003 @02:38AM (#5030933) Homepage Journal
    Why am I always posting "more mojo for Wil" comments?

    Dude, you did exactly the right thing. Your producer was exceedingly unprofessional, and his sole skill seemed to be the ability to cover his ass. Going to his boss was the right thing to do. Leaving the show was the right thing to do. Hell, doing one last episode - for loyalty's sake, or the fans' sake, or just to give it one last try with the producer - was the right thing to do.

    This might even be time to talk to the producer's boss again and find out why the producer still has a job. I'd bet he was able to talk himself out of all his lieing, claiming the people he had collected for the episodes didn't show up, or some drek like that.

    You were treated like shit. The participants were treated like shit. Your co-host and good friend was treated like shit. You made an attempt to resolve the problem and were further treated like shit. Leaving is a no-brainer. If there's a story we're not hearing about the producer treating Anne like shit, I'd say you're underreacting. In that case, giving his email address to some farkers would be considerred a mild reaction =P

    So in closing, best of luck with whatever endeavor you choose next, and hopefully you got some new material for your comedy troupe out of this =]

    Mojo mojo mojo.

  • I'm trying to think of a reason to keep G4 in the rotation of channels I surf.

    . . .

    Nope. No reason.

    *turn TV on, remove G4 from surf list*

    Honestly, the only reason I gave G4 a look was because of you. I enjoy some of the shows, but the only show I made time to watch was Arena. And the thing which kept me at Arena was the witty writing *ahem* and the great chemistry between you and Travis. I've been hoping that your absense was because you needed time to make that Pax movie. I'm sorry that you got treated this way. You and Travis did some great work, and I hate to see it end because of a jerk with a big ego and no guts.

    Too bad for G4. They just lost a viewer. Who's an engineer. With disposable income. And lots of time to play games. :)

    The Posse, Seattle Divison.

    • If you're an engineer with a disposable income, lots of time to play games, but no Neilsen box, then I'm afraid that they really won't care. Harsh, but we need to stop deluding ourselves that anything matters other than the Neilsens.
  • As someone who only recently found G4 and saw you on the 'tube I must admit I only took in I think one episode.

    I must admit iniitial reactions to Travis were mixed and that I wanted to give the show another try, but I liked your commentary. I did wonder about show length and an almost "jumping" around from things. Toss in a general lack of real depth when it comes to knowing the players and I wasn't sure what was up with the show. I was hoping for more Starcade and less Emril (I'm sure that comparison makes no sense).

    Anyway, enough rambling. I was sorry to hear you left the show, but I am so glad you did now that I know the story. I think we all encounter people who don't care about their own projects - no matter what career path we choose. I hope that this one is only a minor stumbling point for you.

    If you could produce your own show on G4, what would it be like? Reviews? Gamers against gamers like the show you left only better? What interesting things would you have in your show?

    Most of us in the trenches can dream things from our limited perspectives, but you with all your years of expeience should have some very interesting ideas.
  • You did the right thing. The only part I would have done differently was quit when you wanted to. I'd have walked into the producer's boss's office, and lay it out. "I'm resigning because I refuse to work with this pinhead. I will not take the abuse of me or my cohost, the abuse to the players, the abuse to the show itself, or the abuse unknowningly being perpetrated on the viewers." and explain what was really going on. I've had a couple bosses like your producer there, and they never learn. I even had one do the paycheck trick. Luckily, I had a way to rectify the situation, despite his being the owner of the company (did I mention I never really trusted the dirtbag?). I just hope your integrity doesn't give you a rep of being "difficult" to work with. I'd be proud to have you as a co-worker.
    • "I'd have walked into the producer's boss's office, and lay it out."

      Can I assume from this that you don't have a mortgage to pay?

      I hate to tell you, but the rules change when you're a family guy, and when it's actually your income on the line rather than some guy you're giving advice to online.

  • CYA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Safety Cap (253500) on Tuesday January 07, 2003 @10:21AM (#5032151) Homepage Journal
    Too bad Travis didn't keep records of what that idiot producer told him to say (emails, notes, whatever). After the first time--a learning experience--he needed to wake up and realize that this jerkwad was going to never stand up and take responsibility. In fact, Mr. Fancypants was/is going to do whatever it takes to make sure someone else takes the fall for his screwups.

    At that point, whenever Travis asked him what to say, the easiest thing would have been to either say, "Could you send that to me an email?" or if he told Travis verbally, then Travis could send him an email (saving a copy, of course) along the lines of "Just so that I'm clear, you told me to say..." Then when the banana hits the fan, he pulls out the email and says, "This is what I was told to say" and then (in true Hollyweird fashion) "Either he goes, or I take Wil with me! Nyeh!"

    • by Phroggy (441)
      Exactly what I was thinking. The first time it happened, it was reasonable to expect that the producer would back him up without putting anything in writing, but the second time, he should have asked for an e-mail, or if he didn't get one, sent one and gotten a reply.

      Hindsight, 20/20, yadda yadda.
  • My cable provider just got G4 finally on 1/1/03.

    I've watched it for several hours since then. It is the most amateurish, crappy, boring channel I have ever witnessed. Although some of the hosts have some talent, they will not grow in that venue.

    It reminds me of the old Hit Video channel, which was so low-budget that if you called the request line you actually got the on-air VJ. However, Hit Video had something G4 doesn't; they were putting professionally-produced videos on the air, and minimizing the time that the crappy-production-values VJs were talking. G4 is all crap all the time.

    I realize that work is work, and there's no such thing as bad publicity, but Wil, you're better off not sullying your good name with those folks.

    Go find Brent or Michael and see if he'll wrestle you on the NWA-TNA; that'd be better for your rep than these turkeys. Or Dustin Diamond; the battle of the child stars. He'll probably do it.
  • Way to go Wil, you don't need to put up with that crap!

    Looks like I won't be watching G4 ever again.
  • We all recognize them; but only a few adhere to them.
    • To be fair, Wil only quit after they slashed his pay. I do believe that he wanted to quit, but the actual decision was taken for him (as long as he wanted to keep eating, I mean).
  • Random G4 Complaint (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ChaosDiscord (4913) on Tuesday January 07, 2003 @12:03PM (#5032846) Homepage Journal

    To heck with G4.

    I'm a gamer. I spend way too much on video games, computer upgrades, and consoles each year. I actively want good programming dedicated to video games (and watch TechTV's Extended Play regularly). So I think I'm a pretty good representation of their target demographic.

    Or perhaps not. Ater first hearing about G4, I naturally headed to their web site to check them out. Maybe if I liked what I saw, I would call my cable company to ask for it. So, off to www.g4tv.com [g4tv.com]...

    Wham. "You must have cookies enabled to experience G4tv.com!" I'm not trying to log in, or visit a forum, and anything deep. I just want to visit the front page to get a general sense of what the network is. While I appreciate that most people do leave cookies on, I would have expected that their target audience, a generally tech-saavy audience would have a sizable number who block cookies by default. Well, it's stupid of them, but I'm really interested in video gamer targetted television, so I'll turn them on just this once...

    Wham. "Enter your zip code here to experience G4..." Why in the world do you need my zip code to serve your front page? Cleraly they weren't interested in serving me, just themselves.

    And so I left, never to return. (I did send a polite message to the webmaster suggesting that the current system might drive away potential viewers. I never received a reply and a quick check reveals that the exact same system is still in place several months later.)

    Maybe it's just one stupid person running the web site making bad decisions. But coupled with Wil's complaint, it does leave me suspicious that there are systematic problems running through the network, a lack of commitment to their viewers. Sure, you're supposed to make money, but you're supposed to make money by providing viewers with something they want. If you treat viewers and potential viewers badly, they'll stop being viewers. No viewers, no ads. No ads, no business.

    • Well, ust clicking go, without filling out the boxes sent me to the page.

      Of course it is still loading...

      Ahhh, there it's done, not too bad, about what you'd expect from a page for a tv station, forums, polls, a few ads, show info.

      Lets click a link, how about videos?

      Loading...

      You'd think that if they have slow servers, they'd cut back on the graphics a little...

      doesn't look like much is here. No descriptions, so I don't know what I'm getting into really with these videos...

      I'll download one to watch during lunch, lets look at the shows now...

      Loading...

      Well, the shows don't look too bad, nothing I'd make time to watch, but if I was surfing, I'd probably check it out. The show with pringles in the name catches my eye though. Are they talking about the chips?

      First it's Yo! Noid, then Mc Donalds in my Sims, now I have Pringles TV Shows?

      Oh well, I don't even know if I'll be able to watch the chanel in my new apartment yet.

  • Thanks for giving us the scoop. I wondered about your absence from G4, and now I know.

    To paraphrase someone else who replied to this entry: Way to go G4! You just lost another viewer with plenty of spare time and money.

    And as for Mr. Downs, I'm sure his mother is very proud.

    Keep fighting the good fight!
  • by Elwood P Dowd (16933) <judgmentalist@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 07, 2003 @12:52PM (#5033242) Journal
    The only reason I ever watched G4 was because of the amateur producing. I'm not even kidding. My friends and I don't play many video games, but several of them are interested in working in TV. G4 is *so* amateur, that it's easy to see the efforts of the young, inexperienced hosts (not your show), and learn from their mistakes with them. With the low budgets, it's also easier to see how design became reality. If that makes any sense.

    Don't get me wrong. I would watch a very professional channel that was to video games what ESPN is to sports. G4 is still interesting to a different brand of geek. A friend of mine will likely be doing a thesis on G4 for a media studies class.

    So. I'm really sorry to hear about your experience, Wil. It's fantastically interesting to me and my friends :)
  • It's good to hear you side of the story. UMM had dinner with Travis and he explained it to us with a little less detail, but nevertheless we were saddened by the situation. It's unfortunate that a venue for gamers, like myself, was stunted by a narrow minded producer. Thank you also Wil, for sticking up for, intentionally or not, over the "Leftovers" episode. Originally they wanted me to play on the leftovers team, but decided against it because I had gotten the MVP on a previous episode. I guess they figured the fans would realize it. We were very glad to hear your explanation at the top of the show... we felt unclean about it. Good luck on all your endeavors. Maybe you could put a similar show together on TechTV. Travis told us some of your ideas... they sounded great. - SpaceMonkey
    • Thank you also Wil, for sticking up for, intentionally or not, over the "Leftovers" episode. Originally they wanted me to play on the leftovers team, but decided against it because I had gotten the MVP on a previous episode. I guess they figured the fans would realize it.

      My sticking up for you guys, and the integrity of the show and its audience is what brought all these problems to a head.

      You are a great team, and you deserved better.
  • by Blackneto (516458)
    What bug gets up peoples asses to make them think they can treat people like that?
    Everyone needs to work a construction job at some point in thier career. That guy wouldn't have lasted 5 minutes as a foreman before some Ironworker threw a spud wrench at his head.
    If he was in combat there would have been a friendly fire incident.
    He must be a really good cocksucker to last that long.
  • Cant believe thats the bullshit you pulled up with. Thats why chatters were calling downs a Nazi in chat a bit ago *laughs* I got suspended from their forums just for calling em assholes when I had heard you and travis were fired, but that was just thinking it was a lot more simple. Just to say, some people stay vigiliant back at g4, many of the posters are doing some minor things, not watching arena or any downs program, or not watching g4 perminantly. Hah, just goes to show you amazing power and greed corrupts people, even if its shitty power and even shitter greed.
  • Wow...Way to go Wil. You know, Jim was in chat a while before you got fired..and He seemed Nice, but I'll be damned if I ever see him in Chat again. >=P As I agree, G4 is going downhill, It can still be great if improved on. The Posters and chatter all want you back >=P Well, Arena was probably one of the best shows on G4 (If there wasn't so many Re-Runs). Nothing else to talk about now, so I'll be going! Thanks for the good Times Watching Wil. I hope I see you acting somewhere else...New star Trek movie coming soon...hmm... >=P
  • I salute you for standing up for what you believed was right.In reading this I have gained more respect for you (on top of the respect I had already had for you). I will no longer be watching Jim Downs produced material in the hopes of him crashing and burning. Once again I salute you, great job and hope to see you in future TV/movie projects!
  • Yo! I'm from the G4 message boards and this just got out. Everyone's so pissed!!!Alot of people made links and threads about this and alot of people hate Jim(Fuckface) Downs. If you've seen him on commercials you'd think he's a nice guy. But damn we(The forum members) were wrong. Someones considering starting a petition to get him fired, and problably will. If he doesnt start it I will. G4 might not get rid of him immediately, but I'm confident that they will. Alot of members are considering boycotting G4, and if Jim(Fuckface) Downs doesnt get fired they wont watch G4, and the channel will lose alot of money, which they obviously dont want. ~Cold Blooded Hitman.
  • Wil,

    In my opinion, you definately did the right thing! I have been in similar situations with moronic bosses like the producer you mentioned.

    Its best to get out of those situations before they get any worse.

    You have my utmost respect.
    -Apulo
  • so many horror stories. yet he still has a job. maybe public execution? all we need is some rope and a big crowd ;)
  • So far, many of us at the forum are waiting to hear Downs Side of the story, nothing. Nothing at all and we cant even find a way to contact him, so many of em are starting to form petitions, refuse to watch pulse, or g4 alltogether even with the independant Hosts like Tommy and Vic. They're showing G4 that (Like Microsoft treating the players at the lan, where a rival company Sierra treats em like gods at the CPL and Half-life Con) The fans will not put up with bullshit, and thats a good fact.
  • Why don't you sue for lost wages?
    If they didn't tell you ahead of time that your work was going to be for less than what you contracted to before, don't you have a right to those agreed-upon wages?

    I'm not a lawyer, but it makes sense, not to mention that the producer's idiocy will become even more public. Your reputation, and probably that of your co-worker, is being tarnished by him while you let this go, so it's really about more than the money. (I'm sure you know better than any of us how reputation and your industry are linked.)
    • Pop quiz time.

      Question 1. Does G4 have:

      • A: less money to pay to lawyers than Wil.
      • B: more money to pay to lawyers than Wil.

      For bonus points, if you answered "B", does G4 know this, and do they think that Wil knows it too?

      Question 2. Given that Wil quit on principle rather than because of the money, to pay a lawyer to claw back a couple of thousand in lost wages will cost him:

      • A: less than the lost wages.
      • B: more than the lost wages.

      I appreciate your sentiment, but this isn't some filthy socialist hippy we're talking about here, it's Wil. He's a family guy with commitments, and it probably isn't worth his while to fight this.

      • If it is only "a couple of thousand" then that's exactly what small claims court is about. It costs less than $100 to file a case, and no lawyer is needed.

        If "the principle" of the thing is important enough, investing the itme and effort into this type of lawsuit might be worth it. Certainly the negative publicity cannot be something that G4 would want, and could potentially prevent similar actions in the future.

  • G4 Response (Score:2, Informative)

    by vinnieatG4 (640273)

    I am the "boss" Wil Wheaton refers to in his 1-7-03 posting on Slashdot.com and am responsible for Arena as well as all the other programming on G4. I read Wil's posting and it reminded me why I wanted Wil to work for G4 when we launched the network. He's articulate, smart and clever.

    As you can tell from Wil's posting, he and the producer of Arena did not get along. It was too bad because when Wil, Travis and Jim worked well together, Arena was very good. Now that Wil and Travis have left the show we are doing our best to create a different version of Arena with different writers and hosts.

    When Wil was a writer on the show, it was my job to oversee his work. Although he's left I still feel I need to address some inaccuracies in his posting:

    1) Regarding the HALO National Finals, the show was always scheduled to be a half-hour special. It was never at any time slated to be a one-hour show.

    2) Regarding competitions, to the best of my knowledge, no participants were treated badly or with disrespect and never treated as though they were lucky to be competing on the show or to be getting free pizza.

    3) No game on Arena was ever "fixed." There was one occasion when a team scheduled to compete did not show up and producers did have to scramble to assemble a team with people who were available. That said, the results of each and every "Arena" show were real.

    Over 100 talented people work very hard every day to produce the only 24/7 television channel devoted to video games and the people who play them. I know it is not Wil's desire to disparage them. Although we have lots of room for improvement, I am proud of the effort we make and continue to make.

    I appreciate all the good work Wil did while at G4 and wish him the best in all future endeavors.

    Vinnie Longobardo

    • Re: G4 Response (Score:2, Informative)

      Vinnie is a stand up guy. That's why I went directly to him with my concerns regarding the show. I always felt that he was honest and direct with me, and it speaks volumes about his character that he came here to issue a response.

      I agree with Vinnie's assertion that there are very talented people who work at G4, and all of them are doing their absolute best to produce great TV. Many of them are people who I genuinely like, and enjoyed working with.

      My problems were with Jim Downs: his lack of attention to our show, and the way he treated me and Travis. If wish Jim had been more involved with Arena, and had treated us with more professional courtesy and respect. There was a time toward the beginning of my employment when I genuinely enjoyed working with the entire Arena team, including Jim. It wasn't until Jim's repeated scapegoating of Travis Oates that I began to feel otherwise. Jim's apparent claim that I was "terminated" by him, or anyone at the network, is completely false, and I hope that this is just rumor. If true, it would fit the pattern of dishonesty that I found so distasteful while working on Arena.

      Finally, while I appreciate all the support that I've gotten from Arena viewers, I think it's totally unecessary to resort to name calling or threats. It's childish, and reflects poorly on us all.
        • I think it's totally unecessary to resort to name calling or threats

        Shut up, Wesley! You ruined Next Gen! I'll fscking kill you!

        Funnies aside, there's a basic problem with you defending Vinnie: you can't both be the good guys.

        1. As regards the 44/23 minute HALO special, there's at least one liar among him, you, or the editor you say you spoke to. Which is it?

        2. Regarding his knowledge of the treatment of the players, didn't you mention that to him as being one of the reasons why you couldn't get them to turn up? You're an idiot, or a liar, or he's a liar. Which is it?

        3. Vinnie says that there was an impromptu team on "one occasion", you say "often". You can't both be right. And of course this constitutes a "fixed" game. If players were slipped from one team to another (without it being disclosed) in a professional sport, it would be scandalous. That Vinnie doesn't care that it happened demonstrates quite clearly that he doesn't care about the show or the players. That doesn't make him bad, it just means that he's with Them, not Us.

        Sorry Wil, but if Vinnie was a stand up guy, he'd have stood up for you then, and he'd have stood up for you now by suggesting ways to resolve your disparate statements. As I read it, he called you a liar (or best case, a chump) and then said "But no hard feelings.". Of course he's got no hard feelings. He's just blamed you.

        I hate to tell you, but just because you enjoyed working under him doesn't mean that he wasn't screwing you.

        It occurs to me that your reponse - trying to put a halo on Vinnie - is a testament to your good character, not to his.

        I really do respect you and greatly enjoy reading about your Adventures in Tinseltown, I just hope that one day you learn that the only difference between a mink and a weasel is that you don't mind being bitten by the mink.

  • Wil, after reading your post, I have nothing but respect for you. As someone who wants to be an actor (I'm technically not of legal voting age yet, so my "career" doesn't exactly exist), I hope that I can conduct myself with the professionalism and patience that seems to be a part of your daily routine. I should first note that I only began watching G4 a few months ago. I don't receive it at my house, but one of my best friends gets Comcast, so we always watch it over there. The TV is pretty much on whenever we're not playing X-Box, but often we'll be off downstairs or doing something on his computer, and not really paying attention to what's happening on what Spike Lee referred to as "the idiot box." Not so when Arena hit the airwaves, however. Whenever your show came on, we would drop whatever we were doing just to watch it. The chemistry between you and Travis was phenomenal. The show really began to remind me of a video game version of the classic Mystery Science Theater 3000. Seeing as how that was one of my favorite programs when it was still on the air (I still occasionally download old episodes), Arena had a certain appeal to me. As such, both my friends and I were shocked and saddened to hear that you and Travis had left the show. When you revealed what had led to your quitting the show, while I wasn't glad you two left the show, I was certainly satisfied with your explanation and happy that two talented individuals such as you and Travis didn't have to deal with such a hostile working environment any longer. If I were treated the same way, I would do exactly as you have done. I salute you and Travis for your behavior and professionalism. My question (and the only new thing I'll be adding to this thread, seeing as how I haven't really said anything in the rest of this post that hasn't been said previously) is about the future for you and Travis. What are you planning to do next, do you have any idea what he plans to do next, and do the two of you have any plans to work together in the future? Thank you for keeping us updated.
  • One thing I admire about you, Wil, is the fact that you don't let people just walk all over you, regardless of the situation (I remember when I read the journal entry you put on your website regarding why you left "Next Generation" and thought to myself this was someone with integrity). You often wish more people were like that in this world. With that being said: with regards to why you left G4, you did the right thing. I've been watching the channel for awhile, and as cool as it was in the beginning, a lot of it is repetitive. True, they're an upstart that's still getting its feet wet. But if they don't change things soon it's just going to be one big advertisement channel with no substance.
  • Back when I saw you at the ST:TNG 15th Convention, you mentioned that you had just quit and were going in to work your last day. I've been wondering ever since why, now I know! Thanks and congratulations on doing the right thing.
  • Most people have to deal with bad managers in their lives. Good job on getting out of it early.
  • It's great to finally hear the truth behind yours and Travis' disappearances. I can't believe that kind of disregard for common courtesy was not only shown to you, but Travis, the Teams, and the Halo Competitors as well. Congrats for sticking up for what you believe in. Although I was confused at first, I have the utmost of respect for the decision that you came to. Sincerely - J. landry
  • Those G4 Punks should just have that freaking old school gaming vet Sgt Hulka [hulka.com] host the damn show.

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