G4 Awards Producer Crown to Dempsey


Looking to generate the type of enduring buzz garnered by MTV: Music Television's Video Music Awards, G4 has put an executive with MTV credentials in charge of its upcoming G-Phoria event.

The video game and lifestyle channel, which marks its first anniversary this month in some 10 million cable homes, hired Michael Dempsey, producer of the MTV Movie Awards the last two years, to stage G-Phoria July 30 in Los Angeles.

The night-long event, two hours of which will be a live G4 telecast, will celebrate the video game scene through music performances, celebrity appearances and statues for gaming achievements.

G4 viewers would help determine the "Glow Awards" winners through balloting conducted on the channel and via the network's Web site.

"This is the next piece of our puzzle," said G4 CEO Charles Hirschhorn. "You need a signature programming event to help drive a network's distribution."

Dempsey, who also oversaw MTV's Icon salute to Janet Jackson and the initial TV Land Awards last month, is eager to mix elements to boost G-Phoria.

"You have to walk the line between a show that excites hard-core gamers and one that entertains people getting the video game experience for the first time," he added. "It's an important tone to keep in mind."

Comcast Corp.-controlled G4 already faces a rival event planned by Viacom Inc.'s TNN: The National Network, which will hold a first-ever video game awards show of its own this fall.

But because G4's affair will be more of a celebration of the scene than an awards show, Hirschhorn sees a big difference between what the two channels are doing.

He's also not concerned about possible battles to nab advertising sales or marketing deals with key game sponsors.

"They won't hurt us. What we'll both do will elevate the consciousness people have for games," he said.

EB Games, a charter advertiser for G4, is a presenting sponsor of the event, the venue for which has yet to be named. The game retailer's 800 outlets are expected to promote the event through in-store monitors, free-standing inserts and catalogue distribution.

One of the 24 Glow categories — the best game chosen solely by viewers — will bear the retailer's name