Featured Story: Say It Isn’t So! Thoughts on Tom Merrit Leaving TWiT

The Tom Merritt file

As more and more treasured post-Tech.tv familiar faces leave TWiT, I hope very much things stay positive at the TWiT Brick House.  TechTV was a beacon of the late 90’s and early 00’s for aspiring techno geeks and nerds alike.  I never had the channel at home, so I always had my amazing grandmother tape me episodes and also watch them while I was at her house.  I have many fond memories of Call For Help, X-Play, and the infamous Screensavers.  Personalities like Leo Laporte, Chris Pirillo, Tom Merritt, Sara Lane, Kevin Rose, and more, helped inspire me to be what I am today, to be highly interested in the field of computing.  Who could forget John Devorak! 

While many of these personalities now “live on” through various podcasts on networks such as TWiT’s, I can’t help but wish we could return to that golden age, where everything seemed so fresh.  Sure, you have the computer ages of the late 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, and the video game crash of 83′, but for me, the 90’s were my time, so they mean the most to me.  I will never forget the countless modems I went through, floppy disks, my first computer (an Apple II), and getting yelled at to “get off the line” so someone could make a phone call while that “important” game demo was downloading to my computer.  I remember those times with great warmth.

So, when I heard that Tom Merritt was leaving TWiT, I couldn’t help but feel a little saddened.  After his wife, Eileen Rivera left, and also another favorite of mine, Scott Johnson, I started to get worried about TWiT.  Now of course, other great people may and possibly fill their spots, but it left my feeling conflicted.  Who could also forget the whole Eirk Lanigan “blame game”  in 2011, leaving me feel suspicious about staff changes with Lisa running the show.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love TWiT, and the great legacy it carries on, but I have to bring those things up.  Recent staff changes, including the apparent decision to put Chad in charge of The Giz Wiz (seriously?), and a not so bad decision to have Padre SJ.


In reading several posts and stories thus far, it almost seems Tom was a bit taken back and hurt.  It was almost as if he didn’t see it coming, but he may have, given the risk he took going remote.  But to be taken off the network?  Personally, I believe ever since Lisa took the reigns, things have been a bit odd at TWiT, but not totally off the rails.  I mean, I used to watch TWiT every single day and it was one of my most beloved networks.  Nowadays I am more on the Jupiter Broadcasting Network for my technology, among other shows from FrogPantsStudios with Scott Johnson, and various other shows.  In my opinion the decision was a bit harsh, and seems only to benefit the bottom line, not the rich content of TWiT.

It is too early to tell how viewership will react over the next few weeks and long-term.  With some shows like NSFW and Framerate hinging on the amazing and cooperative relationship with Brain Brushwood and Tom, I don’t see those two shows going much further, if at all.  This move will not likely take a massive hit on TWiT, but some long time viewers will likely seek out Tom’s new ventures, rather than stick to TWiT as a main source of news.  Tom’s replacement, Mike Elgan of Windows Weekly fame, is not the choice I would have picked.  Will Mike Elgan moved to Petaluma for full time work?

The main aim for the move seems to be the “breaking news” goal of where TWiT wants to go.  But in the end, breaking news, like 24 hour news networks, never seems to have the focus that I want in a podcast.  Tech News Today was perfect with Tom Merritt, and this change doesn’t sit well with me.  After Tom is permanently gone, it is unnown what his next move is, may it be joining up with Scott Johnson at FrogPantsNetwork, or with Brian Brushwood on his own network.  With Veronica Belmont, Scott Johnson, and others as free agents, an awesome combo could spring from this as well.  From death, springs life, right?

With Framerate, Tech New Today, and NSFW’s future up in the air, only time will tell to see where this situation heads.  While I don’t believe Tom will have any trouble getting a new job, it is still a  sad sight to see him go.  My hope is through this, TWiT makes a transition to a format that brings in some good shows and personalities to add to the growing TWiT family.  Time will only tell.  In the meantime, while a very harsh hashtag, you can check out many prominent and not-so-prominent people’s opinions with the hashtag #twitsuicide on Twitter.

What you can do to get more Tom:

Do you have thoughts?  Questions?  Please post them in the comments section bel




About professorkaos64


Posted on 20131218, in Featured articles, Podcasts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Johnathon

    I used to drive for a living and was a tech enthusiasts and I would listen TNT every night. My job came to an end and I was at a local bar chatting with some guys about phone tech and they said I should come apply where they work. I got hired directly on and didn’t have to go through a temp agency. It’s not the best job in the world. But it’s a lot better then none. But I wouldn’t have got this job without TNT. Period. I was so well informed I was making corrections to their test. Like you, I will follow Tom Merritt to his next venture. Don’t get me wrong I will still watch twit. but my tech news will come from Merritt.

    • professorkaos64

      I am adding a few links to the end of this story, some added just now. I will add “how to follow Tom” at the bottom. Check back in a bit for more. I know I will sorely miss Tom, but rest assured, we have not seen the last of him, and you and I know Brian and him will of course do at least one show on *something*. Thanks for reading Johnathon.

  2. AMKrueger

    Yesterday (12/17/2013) Scott and Tom held a Google Hangout on Air. Sounds like there are going to be many cool ventures coming out of Frogpants in the very near future. They’ve confirmed perrenial fav Veronica Belmont will be a part of the shows there. Current Geek is to be resurrected in a new and improved format.

    I agree that Lisa has made some pretty drastic changes. I think she’s a genius in marketing and creating a revenue stream, but Leo really should be taking the reins as creative director. I see Leo ceding more and more decision making to Lisa and calling her “his boss”. Really? Didn’t Leo Build TWiT? As an entreprenuer, this baffles me.

    I saw that there’s a fitness show in BETA. Considering they canned a gaming show and a photography show, both subjects with deep and changing tech roots, I can’t imagine that this was Leos’ idea. Maybe profit will be the driving force going forward.

    I had recently read some comment about Leo often mentioning his “big house, fancy cars and many trips”. Maybe Leo is just decided that he wants to enjoy life? I honestly don’t know. But in the end, by not painting his vision onto TWiT, he could be turning the network into something other than what he initially imagined and often said he wanted to avoid.

    • professorkaos64

      Awesome thoughts Krueger, thanks a ton for sharing and stopping by. Cheers

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