Ex-E! Execs Eye Video-Game Net

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Several veterans of E! Entertainment Television are looking to launch a
digital-cable network dedicated to video games next year, with help from Comcast
Corp., according to several sources.

Comcast, which is looking to expand its programming portfolio, has been
approached about financially backing the new channel, which will reportedly be
called 'G4.'

One source said the funding from Comcast had been secured, while another
maintained that the MSO hadn't made the commitment yet. Comcast couldn't be
reached for comment Wednesday.

The network plans to target aficionados of video games with shows related to
those games. The service's content, for example, would include previews of new
video games, among other programming, according to sources.

The new network is looking to tap into the booming video-game market and
attendant advertising for it. After a downturn last year, the video-game
industry is expected to post retail sales of more than $7 billion this year,
according to market-research company The NPD Group Inc. Sales of video games
were up 28 percent in the first half of the year compared with the prior-year
period.

The proposed network is the brainchild of Charles Hirschorn, former head of
The Walt Disney Co.'s animation unit, 'Wonderful World of Disney,' two sources
said.

Debra Green, E!'s ex-senior vice president of affiliate relations, has been
recruited to spearhead G4's launch and serve as its chief operating officer. The
start-up network has already rented space in Los Angeles for its operations, one
source said.

Dale Hopkins, E!'s former senior vice president of marketing, will reportedly
be head of affiliate and advertising sales. And Julie Fields, former vice
president of creative services for E!, is also said to be part of the new
network's team.

Hopkins declined to comment Wednesday, while Green and Hirschorn couldn't be
reached.

Longtime E! veterans Green and Hopkins left the entertainment channel in
1999, not long after the exit of then-president Lee Masters. Hopkins went on to
join start-up Internet game site Iwin.com as president. Fields joined her,
serving as senior vice president of creative development. Green started her own
consulting firm, Greenhouse Associates.

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