Last Call

afs_call_for_helpYesterday was one of the saddest days of my life. We put Call for Help to bed Wednesday. You’ll see the last episode on Friday, but for those of us who have been making the show for six years a huge and important chunk of our lives is over.
G4 is shopping the show and it’s possible another network will pick it up. I pray someone does. I’ll keep doing it if I have to fly to Sandusky twice a week. Somehow, somewhere, Call for Help has to live on, if only for the folks who have come to depend on the show for their computer help. I know so many moms and grandfathers and kids and just plain folks for whom Call for Help was an introduction to technology. The show helped get so many people on track, and I feel like we’re letting many more down by not doing it any more. Cross your fingers that some network executive somewhere is willing to take a chance on a funky little show that makes such a big difference in people’s lives.

Meanwhile G4 has asked me to keep doing the daily 90-second pre-taped tips on The Screen Savers indefinitely. I said yes, of course. It’s better than nothing, and it will leave me lots of free time to try to find somewhere else to do what I do. Vinnie Longobardo, the VP Programming for G4, also asked me to ask you to stop filling his inbox with mail. I appreciate your efforts but at this point it’s probably useless to keep harassing the poor guy. G4 is going for a different audience and my work is not really part of those plans. I understand that – I even agree with them. It’s time for all of us to move on.

Mostly I’m going to miss the people I work with. It’s going to be so hard to get up in the morning and not see their faces. You never met a nicer, harder working, more committed bunch of people. We loved what we did. And we hate not getting to do it any more.

Some will continue on with G4. I think Roger, Cat, and Ian will move to LA. George is getting his real estate license. Dan will be bagging groceries at the local Stop ‘n’ Shop. I’m not sure what Fawn’s plans are. The studio crew will continue working until July 2 when 535 York gets shut down for good. Then they’ll all go on to other jobs. They’re the best in the business and won’t have any trouble finding work.

We had six good years. That’s more than most TV shows get. And we are very proud of what we did. It’s just hard to let go, especially when the show was starting to click. We’d had our highest ratings ever in March – 500% growth over the same time last year. The December Call-For-Help-a-thon earned us a big article in the New York Times. We had finally made it back into prime time. So close. So close.

I’m not complaining. I have my family, my radio show, and my memories of an amazing little channel where I got to do pretty much whatever I wanted for way too long. I am just so grateful to have had that chance. And I’m even more grateful that so many of you seemed to actually like my work. I’m not giving up. I’m just going to take some time off to say a private good-bye. Then it’s on to the next thing. I’m sure it will be wonderful and fun and all that. But there will never be another TechTV. For all its flaws, it was pretty great, wasn’t it?

Happy Trails!

677 Replies to “Last Call”

  1. This all just hit home. I feel like I lost my best freind. The only network that I tuned into all the time is dead. Friday will be a sad day for me, but I have some of the best memorys.And for that I say thanks Leo, You made it fun good luck to you and your famly.All the best from Ohio

  2. Gaming is not my thing, computer operations is. So I sent the following message when I unsubscribed from Call for Help and Screen Savers “no LaPorte no Lanzi”.
    Hope to see you soon somwhere on the boob tube.

  3. Tech TV was THE reason I upgraded my satellite TV programming.
    I have been increasingly disappointed with TechTV changes including the Live programming and the lack of ScreenSavers and Call for Help reruns in non-primetime. I’m seriously considering dropping
    Top 100 (or is that ‘Top 99’?) and perhaps DISH network entirely.
    Best Wishes Leo!
    Please consider an Online subscription service as a potential outlet for programming if the cable venue doesn’t fly.

  4. Just a University Network Engineering student that got hooked on Tech TV over the past two years. I might like G4 but it will be sad having a hardcore tech channel gone…Leo you’re cool and you know it 🙂 Glad to see you aren’t upset over it since frankly I have to wonder why you haven’t done bigger and better is all. I mean you could come run the IT department at the University I work for and probably do much better! Be well!

  5. Hey, I’m sure we’ll see you in some form or another. You’re the kind of guy that people will not forget (The man with the golden almanac plugs.) and hopefully everyone here will see you around.

  6. Leo, I’m so sick about TechTv’s Call for Help and Screen Savers. There aren’t words for how frustrated and powerless we feel that this show is being taken away from the technical and non-technical community alike.
    Do a Ted Turner – become a media mogul and create your own media broadcasting service for us all!
    Love to you.

  7. Leo, I’m so sad to see Call for Help end. Last fall I was laid off from my computer support job of 8 years. I was angry, bitter, and totally burned out on computers. I wound up having a month off before starting a new job. During that month, I watched a lot of Screen Savers and CFH. It was your upbeat demeanor that got me through it, and jumpstarted my love of computers. When I started my new, and better, job at the end of the year, I was a better support professional because of you and your show. I’ll have to try listening to your radio show online because I need my Leo fix now, because you’re part of my support team now. You’ve done a great job and I appreciate all the hard work you’ve made look so easy. I look forward to your next TV endeavor.

  8. Leo!! I’m so bummed that you are no longer a regular feature of Tech TV. As far as this lone geek’s opinion flies, you were Tech TV!!!! Don’t get me wrong. I love many of the folks who you worked with…most notably Patrick, Kevin, Sarah, Cat, etc ,etc…. but it aint’ the same without you. People who come along after the fact will not neccesarily miss you since they didn’t have the experience but for those who watched you daily for years (myself since summer 2000) it will never, ever be the same. I realize I am just another voice in the droning multitude, but I had to leave a message and tell you that YOU WILL BE MISSED!!!

  9. Hey folks , were now up to a 105 signatures on the Call for Help Petition . Thats great , but please dont let up now . Lets fill this thing to the MAX and let the big “no it alls ‘ at G4techtv know that were fed up with this garbage and somehow someway we want Leo Laporte back where he belongs . Thanks and keep those signatures coming .

  10. leo sorry about call for help please check out my petition online and hopefully get techtv back to normal.
    Amend this Post
    Overall Rating: Not Yet Rated
    please go to the following url(thanx screensaver/callfor help) to sighn an online pettition aghenst comcast to let them know that there crappy g4 programming is not wanted and techtv should be left alone and the way it was great programming and lots of helpfull advice.
    i am the creator of this pettition so feel free to contact me if you want.
    the abouve link is to my petition if you love techtv b4 g4 please sighn it.
    thank you
    shane arsenault
    p.s leo you and the screensaver/call for help rock!!!!!!!
    shane arsenault

  11. Leo, You helped me move from an old 286 to a modern system and current laptop. I learned a lot from your shows and always appreciated your unique ability to explain the complex simply. I sure hope Call for Help finds a new home and wish you the best of luck. The Screen Savers with Patrick is ok, but you and he were a fine team. All at this house will miss you and your team.

  12. Leo,
    It was great to watch your show everyday. I am going to miss it. I personaly am disappointed at G4’s decision, but there is nothing anyone can do about it. Good luck with your future adventures, and I hope to see you on a new show soon.
    Shane Edwards

  13. Leo,
    I’m so sad that you no longer host Call for Help or TSS. I’ve been watching TechTV for several years. On many occasions I have urged friends and family to watch TechTV to become more tech savvy.
    G4 has made a hugh mistake. When another station picks up Call for Help be sure to get the word out to everyone.
    Thanks for your knowledge, personality, ethics and for caring about your audience.
    Linda Randall

  14. We’ll miss you Leo, Hopefully G4 will come to their collective senses and realize what a good show they’ve passed up. The screen savers isn’t the same with you only doing 90 second “infomercials” either. I’ve learned so much from you. Your kind of like that high school teacher who taught you, but when you granduated that was it. You have made a great impact on the millions of geeks in the world.

  15. First, The Screensavers, now Call For Help, it’s a pity G4 is so short sited. I will dance on their previable graves when the station goes under. This coming from a 20 year gamer.
    It’s really sad, both I & my grandma (now 73), has watched your show since COX made it available here back in late 2002, and to say the least, you’ve made a HUGE difference in both our lives. Before CFH, my grandmother wouldn’t even touch the computer I had built for her. Now she has her own laptop (b-day gift from me last year), but since Friday, she’s hardly touched her laptop at all. It’s rather sad, it’s almost like she lost her enthusiasm. At least she still chats with her relatives in Europe from time to time, but that’s it.
    Hopefully you’ll be picked up to do another Tech show somewhere else.
    One day I hope to meet you in person & shake your hand & thank you for the great tech related news, reviews, advice, etc. You remind me, everybit, of my first Boss, in the computer field. I went in knowing enough to just barely get by & left (2 years later) with enough knowledge to take on almost any tech job (except programming). He was a true friend, a wonderful teacher & a great boss. And I’m sure most, if not all, your work colleagues feel/felt the same way.
    Come back soon LEO!!!

  16. It makes me sad that you and Call For Help are going to be gone. I have watch your show since it was add to my DirecTV programming. Back when it was ZD. I watched everyday and learned everyday and when you moved to the Screen Savers I switch and watched that everyday just to keep on learning. I bought my first Mac from your advice. Love It. I took a Mac class and the instructor gave you high regards. Hopefully you will return the show was a lot of help. Even my brother that has no idea about computers understood what you where saying. Good luck.

  17. Leo,
    I can’t help but feel that if Comcast thinks you are not part of the future of the network they also feel that most adults are not part of their audience. Watching the Screensavers and Call for Help felt like visiting with a family. Without you on the network my viewership would take on a decidedly creepy feel. Like the adult who is always hanging out with groups of kids.
    I will leave the TechTV audience with your departure from the network. Your prerecorded clips seem like an attempt to placate those of us who flooded Comcast email accounts with protest.
    I look forward to your next show, where ever it appears (TV, radio, internet stream).
    Thank you for educating and entertaining my family for so many years.
    Matthew W.
    Towson, MD

  18. Leo….
    Whoa, I just went to have lunch way down the hall from my home office, turned on the DishNet PVR and started looking for today’s Call For Help which I have programmed to record every morning…. guess I’ve been working too much because I had no idea that you were outta here…. What a sad day !!!!
    First they took you off the Screen Savers which pissed me off, now this…. guess we’ll hear that old line… “it’s just business”…. well, with most shows I could care less, but with you, it’s personal. I looked forward to you every day, and best of all I learned lots from you Leo. I’m gonna miss you a lot dude.
    I’m hoping that someone gets wise and puts you back on the air somewhere… Thanks for everything…..

  19. Leo,
    I have been watching CFH since ZDTV launched. Over the past few years, your participation in TSS and CFH were the only reason I retained my DirecTV subscription, being the only channel I watched religiously every morning. I will be closing my DirecTV account now that you are gone (90 seconds does not cut it). Get a new network quick — Please!

  20. Hey guys, one thing that business understands is money, If we contact the sponsors, telling them we are not going to buy their products because they sponsor this network, guess what happens? Bingo!!! just a thought. Anyone else have thoughts on this? Mark

  21. Way to go folks we currently are up to 127 signatures on our Save Call for Help Petition . A big time thank you to all 127 die hard call for helpers out there ! 127 signatures is fabulous , but I know we can still do a whole lot better than that . We may never be able to bring back call for help but I truly believe with enough people making their voices heard through this petition we can at the very least , put some much needed pressure on the big brass at G4techtv to get Leo back on a show on a regular basis instead of these pathetic little 90 second pretaped tips that he’s doing on a show that he himself help started ! Lets blast them with everything we have starting with this petition . Once again , thanks to all who have signed and to those who haven’t , lets go guys we need you . Thanks .

  22. I want my Leo!
    When ZDTV came on the air I was 70 or so, I learned
    geek-speak from the cast of Call for Help and the
    Screensavers. They emboldened me to invest in more
    technology so now I use PhotoShop and all the components
    of Windows XP with joy. My children are all grown, of course,
    and heavily involved with technology in their jobs and lives but
    they don’t live near enough to educate their mom
    or Grandma.
    I noticed the deterioration of programming when Martin
    Sargent began leering at us and the game shows began
    Please let us know where you land, Leo. Your fans will follow
    you wherever you land.
    Mary Ann Waxler
    Mapleton ND

  23. You know that old saying about not knowing what you have till its gone. I haven’t had this empty of a feeling since I got dumped by my first girlfriend in jr high. If it wasn’t for ZDnet and ZDTV, that first pc I bought in 97 might be collecting dust in the garage, instead I’m on pc #4 and up to my neck in other tech gear. Leo, especially, helped to turn my lack of computer experience into computer savvy and as a result I’m the person in my family and at work who gets asked for tech advice. Even my wife, who can’t set the clock on the vcr, makes spending money selling things on EBAY. We’ve converted one of our bedrooms into a computer room now that the kids have all moved out and my Grandson is way ahead of the other kids in his preschool on the computer. Thanks Leo! I’m gonna miss ya!
    Gene Youngblood
    P.S. I have been trying to watch G4/Techtv but to tell you the truth, their shows SUCK! I’m going to set the TIVO to record TSS and spend more time surfing the WWW!

  24. I personally HATE comcast. They are so huge (God knows how) but they are low quality in my opinion. They just go around, buying everything in sight. I couldn’t even stard to imagine how bad Disney would be if they bought it. This is my dream: To start a company, buy comcast, separate Techtv and g4, bring back call for help. But hopefully another network WILL do call for help.

  25. Hi Leo. I have only been hooked for a few months as your show has only come to air through fox down here
    in Australia. Have been an avid viewer and will miss your easy to follow tips. all the best for future

  26. Leo,
    I’ve been watching since ZDTV first launched, and “The Screen Savers” has been my favorite show since. The change from ZDTV had me worried, but it worked out great. So, I appoached the recent changes with optimism. As an avid gamer I had watched some of the G4 programs, but I was not impressed. Some had decent content, but all were delivered poorly.(IMHO) I had hoped that TechTV’s quality would rub off on the other shows, and that it would be an even mix of the good shows from each channel. Let’s face it, this could have been a great line up. As it stands I am not impressed. I will continue to watch the TechTV programs, but unless the G4 shows get better I will always change channels. Maybe they will improve, or ratings will force a change. Who knows? This is worse that the last episode of “Friends”. Leo, where ever you end up I’ll be watching. Even if it’s a fishing show.

  27. Hi, Leo, I liked watching “Call For Help” and “The ScreenSavers”. I started watching “Call For Help” and “The ScreenSavers” in summer 2000 and have been a avid watcher of both shows since. Your tricks and tips did help me because I was new to computers and if it haven’t been for you, my computer would of been out in the trash. Well, I’m on my fourth PC and I love it. Too bad that you aren’t on G4TechTV and my cable company does carry G4, but I’m not getting digital cable just to watch somebody play video games or talk about video games. I’m a geek and I’m into technology, not video games. I read that all they talk about is video games and not anything about computers and technology. Tell me whatever channel that you guys are on and I will follow you. I hope another network pick up Call For Help. I haven’t been this sad since I lost my job last year. Good luck to you and other CFH hosts and staff.

Comments are closed.