Once described as a “pop-culture nightmare gallery,” Attack of the Show! was a high-energy, humor-focused hour long talk show. AOTS had a variety of daily and weekly segments covering viral videos, weird news, movie reviews, gadgets, video games, sex, drugs and a host of other pop-culture topics, interviews and comedy skits. The show was launched as an evolution of “The Screen Savers” which ended in 2005 and was one of the longest lasting shows on the network, airing until the network’s demise in 2013 with nearly 2,000 episodes.
The Beginning (2005)
Attack of the Show! first aired in late-March of 2005 and was spawned from the long-running The Screen Savers. After G4 retooled TSS in November of the previous year, many vocal fans criticized the show as deviating too far from it’s original premise and leaving behind it’s root concepts of a technology and computer interests program. It was clear the show was moving in a different direction from that of previous incarnations. Acknowledging that they had created a whole new show focusing on a broader range of topics G4 renamed and relaunched the show as Attack of the Show! and officially laid The Screen Savers to rest. Most of the hosts and many of the regular segments from G4’s version of TSS returned and the show continued a shift away from technology and into a broader internet and pop-culture talk show.
Attack of the Show! was originally hosted by Kevin Rose and Kevin Pereira with correspondents Sarah Lane and Brendon Moran. Former TSS host Chi-Lan Lieu did not continue on with the show and left the network before AOTS launched. Chris Gore continued as a weekly guest reviewing DVD releases. Blair Butler, writer for X-Play, wore various hats including writer, field reporter and hosted segments reviewing comic books. Viewers could interact with the show via the network’s IRC chat room and message boards.
In May 2005, not long after launch, G4 let Kevin Rose out of his four year contract to pursue work on his social news aggregation site, Digg.com. A contest and test run of potential replacement hosts was held, but oddly no winner was ever chosen and Sarah Lane stepped up as co-host.
Hitting it’s Stride (2006-2009)
In May 2006, Sarah Lane and occasional host Brendan Moran announced they would be getting married and would be leaving the show to take a year long, country hopping honeymoon (they eventually announced their divorce in December of ‘08). Olivia Munn was announced as the replacement and new co-host of the show, to join Pereira. Shortly after E3 2006, Attack of the Show! was relaunched, with new graphics, a new set with CRT monitor headed mannequins and new segments. One new segment, “The Loop,” hosted short round-table discussions on hot-button issues or news stories moderated by Pereira with guests appearing via satellite on the set’s large video screens.
“The Loop” segment circa 2006.
AOTS continued to broaden it’s topics, now covering everything from comics to sex advice, but still kept a general emphasis on gaming and internet culture. Each show started with “Around The Net,” a showcase of the latest viral videos. Tech reporter Wil O’Neal served as tech reporter until leaving the show to return to San Francisco in September of 2007. He was replaced by a then much lesser known Chris Hardwick (who would later host his own G4 show, Web Soup, before leaving to launch his own internet network, Nerdist.) Zach Selwyn joined the staff as a field correspondent in April 2006, reporting on events such as the San Diego Comic Con and the Adult Entertainment Expo.
The show also added new interactive features including video mail and live webcam chat from viewers (replacing the IRC chat room), much like “The Screen Savers” did during it’s TechTV years, serviced by now-defunct Stickcam.
The show became popular in the burgeoning world of podcasting during this time period and many of the show’s segments had their own video podcasts feed where viewers could automatically download short video clips of the show to their iPod or other devices. At one point, the network bragged that it had become the “Most Podcasted Channel” in the country. The show’s news segment “The Feed” became one of the most popular, which was originally hosted by Sarah Lane, followed by Layla Keighley and later Alison Haislip and Sarah Jean Underwood.
In 2007, Blair Herter joined the network primarily appearing on X-Play, but also appearing as a correspondent for AOTS.
Attack of the Show!, along with X-Play, became G4’s flagship show and frequently hosted yearly special on-location specials from E3, the San Diego Comic-Con, CES, the Adult Entertainment Expo and 420 Specials from various “weed-friendly” countries such as Amsterdam. As G4’s erratic schedule moved away from expensive original produced content and toward cheaper second run syndicated series, Attack of the Show! hit it’s stride and and was reliably aired in the same timeslot each day while other original shows were shuffled around and quickly cancelled. While some fans criticized the addition of Olivia Munn as a sex appeal move, it proved positive for the network as many skits and bloopers featuring Munn went viral and brought much needed attention to the show from general audiences.
On July 9, 2009, Attack of the Show! celebrated it’s 1,000th episode with a 2-hour celebration featuring clips from the best moments of prior episodes, appearances by former hosts Sarah Lane (on-set) and Kevin Rose (via video) and celebrity guests.
The show integrated Twitter interactions, allowing fans to tweet to the show using special hashtags that would appear on special monitors throughout the set and featured in various segments.
Olivia Munn began taking on other projects and movies during this period and frequently was absent from the show, leaving other AOTS correspondents such as Alison Haislip to co-host with Pereira or guest hosts to fill her spot. In January of 2011, after being absent from the show for months, Candice Bailey was announced as the new co-host, replacing Olivia Munn.
Longtime correspondent and frequent guest host Alision Haislip, who was considered a front runner for the co-host position, left the network in November 2011 to work on other projects, including a gig as a field reporter on the revived Battlebots show on ABC.
Beginning of the End (2012)
On May 9, 2012, Kevin Pereira, who had been with the network since nearly the beginning, announced he would leave Attack of the Show! and G4 to focus on his own production company, Super Creative. Pereira continued through the end of the month, covering E3 and hosting a final farewell episode (see below for the full episode) highlighting the best and worst moments of his career on the network. Also included were special goodbye messages from past hosts, including Olivia Munn who would joke that she “never got a goodbye.” Candice Bailey continued to host the show with a rotating guest hosts in Pereira’s old position. Sarah Jean Underwood, a longtime guest host and current host of “The Feed” segment, co-hosted most episodes moving forward.
Chris Hardwick left the show to focus on Nerdist Network and other projects, but would still appear infrequently as a guest host.
G4’s Closure (2012-2013)
Over the summer of 2012, reports surfaced that NBCUniversal, G4’s parent company, was looking to rebrand the network. Many on-air hints of the show’s demise were dropped and finally on October 26, 2012 the network announced that Attack of the Show!, along with X-Play, would be ending production in December.
The final episode would be filmed in December and all of the staff laid off shortly thereafter. “Best of” shows aired throughout January, hosted by Chris Hardwick, with the final episode airing on January 23rd, 2013. The final episode included highlights of the show’s 7 year and nearly 2,000 episode history and a final sing-along with the cast and crew to “We Never Got To Dance,” a often used song from a generic music library. Kevin Pereira did not appear (except in archive clips), citing years later that he “had already said his goodbyes” and had no desire to do so again.
The final scene of the show aired a skit, featuring Leo Laporte and Patrick Norton (original hosts of The Screen Savers) in a coffee shop, revealing that the entire run of AOTS was just a nightmare. The two joke about the absurdity of such a show and then strap on jetpacks to fly back to work (a giant TechTV skyscraper) to film another episode of The Screen Savers.
The End of AOTS
Kevin Pereira launched a spiritual successor to AOTS called The Attack in 2015 which airs live several days a week on Twitch.tv. The show is a very similar format housing skits, gaming discussions and news and interactive segments with it’s audience. Pereira serves as an occasional host and creator/producer of the show.