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Channel Awesome

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Not to be confused with Network Awesome.
Channel Awesome, Inc.
Industry Online media
Founded Lombard, Illinois (2008 (2008))
Founders Mike Michaud
Bhargav Dronamraju
Mike Ellis
Doug Walker
Rob Walker
Headquarters Lombard, Illinois, United States
Key people
Mike Michaud, CEO
Doug Walker, Actor & Presenter
Rob Walker, Screenwriter and Creative Content Officer (CCO)
Revenue $150,000 (2009)

Channel Awesome, Inc. is an online media production company based in Lombard, Illinois. The company was created in 2008 by Mike Michaud, Mike Ellis, and Bhargav Dronamraju. Channel Awesome operated the That Guy with the Glasses website (often shortened to TGWTG) until late 2014, when it was replaced by the current Channel Awesome website.

That Guy With The Glasses previously hosted fellow channels by Bar Fiesta beginning in November 2009, Blistered Thumbs beginning in November 2010. As of May 2015, Channel Awesome currently hosts a YouTube channel of the same name with an emphasis on the Walker Brothers' content, as well as the YouTube channel League of Super Critic that includes several of the site's other top producers. All of Channel Awesome's content is hosted by Blip or YouTube.[1][2]


Mike Michaud, Mike Ellis and Bhargav Dronamraju created Channel Awesome after they were laid off from Circuit City in 2007. The three discussed the idea of such a company while still employed, but their dismissal was the impetus to put their plans into action. Michaud has stated that "If we didn't lose our jobs, [the business] wouldn't have happened anytime soon."[3][4]

Doug Walker is an Italian-born American actor, comedian, writer, and film critic. He first appeared on the web on YouTube, posting several satirical video reviews of films and other media entertainment of the past and present. Initially, Walker viewed making the videos as a side hobby, rarely interacting with his fans and did not reveal his real name until a video responding to the Northern Illinois University shooting. The series had its content withdrawn from YouTube following complaints from 20th Century Fox and Lionsgate over alleged copyright infringement.[5] Walker attempted to re-upload his content by assigning each video a new, separate channel. However, due to continuing issues, Walker decided to leave YouTube altogether and create the website That Guy With The Glasses with webmaster Mike Michaud.

That Guy With The Glasses

Channel Awesome's first website was That Guy With The Glasses, launched in April 2008. It was a website showcasing satirical reviews of movies, television shows, music, comic books and video games. The website was built around the work of Doug Walker, the titular "That Guy With The Glasses". Walker had previously posted his videos on YouTube, but they were repeatedly removed under suspicion of copyright infringement.

The website was home to several series starring Doug Walker. The main Walker series were 5 Second Movies (hyper-edited feature films), Nostalgia Critic (comedic recaps of bad movies), Ask That Guy With The Glasses (a comedy question and answer show) and Bum Reviews (humorous plot summaries of theatrical releases). Other videos and written articles were hosted on the site, including some minor series and sketches starring Walker. Videos were primarily hosted by after problems with earlier provider Revver.[6] The website featured videos from a number of other internet producers who were steadily added as contributors over the course of several years.

In December 2008, Walker appeared in a commercial for the PBS documentary Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America, performing a series of brief imitations of famous comedians, from Charlie Chaplin to Stephen Colbert.[7] In 2009, Doug and Rob Walker and Brian Heinz produced an iRiff of The Lion King for RiffTrax. In March 2009, the iRiff was chosen as the winner of the website's RiffTrax Presents contest. The performers received $1,000 and, with instruction from Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett, recorded a commentary for the film Batman Forever.[8]

The Nostalgia Critic shows averaged 100,000 to 300,000 viewers per week while on the site, and as a whole it received 1 million page views per month.[3][9] This was expected to increase following content-provider's deal with YouTube in July 2009.[10] As of July 2009, the site earned more than $10,000 per month in advertising revenue and received more than $11,000 in online donations. In the third quarter of the 2009 fiscal year, Walker's shows earned $53,000, including $32,000 from the Nostalgia Critic alone. This revenue was generated by run of network from Puma and Starburst.[3][10] The success of his shows has allowed Walker to make a living performing and to quit his previous job as an illustrator, as well as pay the salary of co-founder/COO Mike Ellis.

The site was featured in Entrepreneur magazine on December 2009[11] where the history of the site was discussed as well as the plans for the future.

A "team shot" of Channel Awesome producers and Republic of Molossia president Kevin Baugh, c. the 2010 filming of their 2nd year anniversary feature-length special Kickassia

During 2011, Michaud was looking for warehouse space in suburban Chicago.[4] He told The New York Times, "My company has a lot of growing up to do, but I believe that sometime in the next one to two years someone will create that one series that gets everyone talking... [and attract audiences] to the endless options of online video."[4]

As of June 2011, the company employed seven full-time staff.[4] According to Walker, "these people are cheap to get because we are happy to see any amount of money." Channel Awesome's ability to attract a significant audience with a low expenditure was proclaimed to be having an effect on video entertainment production.[10]

On June 28, 2012, Channel Awesome content producers Doug Walker, Lindsay Ellis (The Nostalgia Chick), Brad Jones (The Cinema Snob), and Todd Nathanson (Todd in the Shadows) signed exclusivity deals with,[12] the video website which has directly hosted most That Guy With The Glasses and Channel Awesome programming since they left Revver in 2008.[13] The deal did not affect the appearance of the producers' videos on Channel Awesome's That Guy With The Glasses website, and would assist the increase of budget of the four series, as well as provide technical improvements.[12] An extension of this deal is a Blip-run YouTube channel called "League of Super Critics" which also uploads the unedited videos of all four producers, with the exception of the Cinema Snob, whose videos are edited down from the original version so that the only way one can see the full video is to go to Blip.[14]

On December 3, 2014, it was announced that the site would shut down and rebrand itself as[15]


Channel Awesome expressed plans to build on the success of That Guy With The Glasses with a network of subdivisions of the Channel Awesome website, including Bar Fiesta for covering Chicago entertainment and nightlife, and Inked Reality for anime and comic books. Blistered Thumbs began in 2009 as a subdivision of That Guy With The Glasses for housing its video game content. It gained popularity and Blistered Thumbs launched as its own website on November 4, 2010.

Joe Vargas (Angry Joe) was already an established video game reviewer on That Guy With The Glasses, was the initial editor-in-chief. Staff writers were drawn from various websites including That Guy With The Glasses, TechRaptor, and Normal Boots. Austin Yorski eventually replaced Vargas as editor-in-chief.

In late November 2014, the Blistered Thumbs website was shut down. Although the exact details are unknown, many producers and staff members from the site have cited such reasons as mismanagement, lack of revenue, a conflict involving site leaders Joe Vargas and Micah Curtis against producer Eli Cymet, and struggling relations between the website and the leadership of Channel Awesome.[16][17]

The new Channel Awesome website debuted in late 2014. All content from That Guy With The Glasses was relocated to the newly-established Each week there is a Spotlight Section to promote a website producer, as well as a Featured Blogger.

In January 2015, four of the site's long-time associates departed including Andrew Dickman, Kyle Kallgren (Oancitizen),[18] Allison Pregler (Obscurus Lupa) and Phelan Porteus (Phelous).[19] Upon leaving, Allison Pregler accused the site management of abusing talent, hypocrisy and scamming nearly $90,000 from fans with an Indiegogo campaign.[20]

Later that same month, Lindsay Ellis announced that she was ending her long running show The Nostalgia Chick, which had been created as a companion show to The Nostalgia Critic and premiered in September 2008.[21] However, she will continue to produce videos for League of Super Critics on Youtube and her own website Chez Apocalypse.[22]

Long-running series

Nostalgia Critic

Main article: Nostalgia Critic

The Nostalgia Critic is the most popular video series created by Doug Walker, in which he plays the titular reviewer. The show is written by him and his brother Rob Walker. The series was initially launched on YouTube before moving to Blip TV in 2008. It is the flagship show for Channel Awesome, which has since built on it with additional content, additional websites and the spin-off show Nostalgia Chick.[23]

Atop The Fourth Wall

Atop The Fourth Wall (often shortened to AT4W) stars Lewis Lovhaug (Linkara) as an "overweight comic book nerd" who reviews terrible comic books. He has incorporated running storylines into the show and has battled "robots, monsters, and interdimensional conquerors." AT4W was one of the earliest series on That Guy With The Glasses and premiered with the episode Spider-Man #56 (Oct 25, 2008).[24][25]

Bad Movie Beatdown

Bad Movie Beatdown is a series created by Mathew Buck (Film Brain). He critically and comically dissects movies that are generally considered, by most, to be terrible. The series debuted on That Guy With The Glasses with an episode tackling the Steven Seagal film On Deadly Ground (August 5, 2009). Buck also produces Projector, in which he reviews films currently showing in UK theaters.[26]

The Cinema Snob

Main article: The Cinema Snob

The Cinema Snob stars Brad Jones as a pretentious art critic who watches and comments on obscure exploitation films and pornography, the majority of which were released between the late 60's through the early 90's. His association with Channel Awesome beginning with "E.T. The Porno" (January 7, 2010). Like many other shows on "That Guy With The Glasses", Jones started his show on YouTube until he was confronted with a copyright claim from the filmmakers of Nail Gun Massacre.[27] Similarly to The Nostalgia Critic, Jones has created additional shows for Channel Awesome including Brad Tries and Midnight Screenings.


On January 6, 2011, Doug Walker was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year in Las Vegas at the 4th Annual Mashable Awards, Mashable Awards 2010.[28]


On December 5, 2009, the company held a donation drive for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The donation drive lasted upwards of seven hours and raised $26,400. During the event, calls were taken, prizes were awarded to people who donated large sums of money and videos featuring the talent on the site were aired. The donation drive was extended a few more days making the grand total $32,200.[29]

On December 15, 2011, Lindsay Ellis (Nostalgia Chick) posted a video about Channel Awesome traveling to Washington D.C. to talk to their senators and representatives about the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT IP Act. Ellis, CEO Mike Michaud, Vice President Rob Walker and content producers Noah Antwiler (The Spoony One), Kyle Kallgren (Oancitizen), Lewis Lovhaug (Linkara), Todd Nathanson (Todd in the Shadows), Paul Schuler (Paw Dugan) and Joe Vargas (Angry Joe) all traveled to Washington D.C. to represent Channel Awesome and support freedom of speech on the internet.[30]


  1. ^ Channel Awesome YouTube Channel
  2. ^ League of Super Critics
  3. ^ a b c Meyer, Ann (July 6, 2009). "Growing breed of accidental entrepreneur has recession to thank for business creation". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 10 July 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d Stelter, Brian (June 5, 2011). "Online Video Start-Ups Seek to Carve Out a Place Beside YouTube". The New York Times. p. B1. Retrieved June 19, 2011. 
  5. ^ Pickard, Anna (November 19, 2007). "The five-second movies and why you should watch them". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-12-09. 
  6. ^ Dreier, Troy. "Revver Non-Payments Have Video Makers Crying Foul". StreamingMedia. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  7. ^ "Lost in DC: PBS Commercial Documentary". That Guy With The Glasses. February 18, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  8. ^ "We have a Winner!". RiffTrax. Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  9. ^ Graham, Jefferson (February 13, 2009). " gives videomakers a chance to be a star". USA Today (Gannett Company). Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  10. ^ a b c Learmonth, Mke (July 28, 2009). " Brings Programs to YouTube, Ads to 'Channel Awesome'". Advertising Age. Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  11. ^ Daley, Jason (December 2009). "The Entrepreneur Economy". Entrepreneur Magazine. Retrieved December 2009. 
  12. ^ a b "Blip launches production studio, seeks to expand". The Chicago Tribune. June 28, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  13. ^ "Revver be Dead". That Guy With The Glasses. 2008-11-14. Retrieved 2008-11-14. 
  14. ^ League of Super Critics. "League of Super Critics". YouTube. Retrieved 2015-02-23. 
  15. ^ "". Archived from the original on December 17, 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  16. ^ The Fall Of Blistered Thumbs: Mismanagement And Despair – Part 1 Read more at
  17. ^ The Fall Of Blistered Thumbs: Mismanagement And Despair – Part 2 Read more at
  18. ^ A Farewell to Awesome
  19. ^ Goodbye, Farewell and Amen CA
  20. ^ Bye, CA!
  21. ^ First Nostalgia Chick Episode!page=15
  22. ^ Farewell, Channel Awesome, and a pre-emptive FAQ
  23. ^ Chicago, Illinois, United States Video / Web (2013-08-28). "Channel Awesomes New Shows and More!". Indiegogo. Retrieved 2015-02-23. 
  24. ^ "AT4W: Spider-Man #56". Oct 25, 2009. 
  25. ^ "Atop The Fourth Wall FAQ". May 16, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Bad Movie Beatdown: On Deadly Ground". August 5, 2009. 
  27. ^ "BtZ24: An interview with Brad Jones". Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  28. ^ "Mashable". Mashable. January 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-07. 
  29. ^ "Ronald McDonald House Charity Aftermath". That Guy With The Glasses. December 10, 2009. Retrieved December 10, 2009. 
  30. ^ "Nostalgia Chick: Mr. Awesome Goes to Washington". Dec 15, 2011. 

External links