The Electric Playground Network is back on TV.
The show's founder and long-time host, Victor Lucas, announced that the show will return for its 25th season on Monday (February 23) on CityTV & G4 in Canada.
Produced in Vancouver since 1997, the entertainment news and reviews program had been on air and online without any real off-season until late last year when production came to an abrupt stop while a new contract was being negotiated in December.
Lucas explained the radio silence stemmed from a drastic overhaul of how his team produces its TV programming, while also working to secure financing and sponsorships for a medium that has higher editing and production standards than simply posting a show online.
"We've had a long time relationship with Rogers [the parent company of CityTV & G4] where it's been a straight licensed deal to purchase the shows, but over the last couple of years, the business directions for Rogers has shifted a little bit," Lucas said. "You may have noticed they have a lot of hockey on Rogers stations."
It has been two months since the EPN crew has produced any new content, which is an eternity in the media world, especially when your media focuses on the ever-evolving state of technology and entertainment.
"It was tough," Lucas said. "It was a great shock to the system and it's a downer. But media is going through tremendous shake-ups at every size and shape right now."
Staff was also scaled back at EPN's offices late last year as well, according to Lucas.
When fans tune in to the revived product, Lucas admitted there will be noticeable differences. Up until last year, EPN was split into two different programs: an entertainment news magazine show called EP Daily and the spin-off Reviews on the Run, which focused on reviews of video games, electronic devices, TV shows, and movies.
Now the shows will merge back into one half-hour program, and Lucas doesn't sound too bothered by the eased workload.
"Frankly, it was a privilege to be able to do that, but last year in particular, it felt a little bit indulgent just because every week we're hearing about new media outlet closures or new video game studio closures," he said. "The things that have effected us are not isolated to our company, it's just media in general is transitioning into this mass-adoption of Internet information. We're just rolling with it, although we are not going to stop trying to raise financing, find partners, and continue to try to get Reviews on the Run to be its own half-hour program."
For content that doesn't fit the confines of a 30-minute TV, Lucas hinted that viewers could still see some exclusive programming on EPN.tv in the future.