NBC to rebrand G4 as The Esquire Network
In recent weeks, G4 has said goodbye to brand-defining series like "Attack of the Show." Now parent company NBC is saying goodbye to the G4 brand itself, in a plan to redub the channel The Esquire Network, after the upscale men's magazine.
The channel will be owned and operated by NBCUniversal, but will be programmed in partnership with Hearst Magazines, which owns Esquire.
The press release announcing the new venture promises that "Esquire Network will expand on G4’s foundation of games, gear and gadgets to reflect the broad range of interests, passions and aspirations that define men today. Appealing to men’s intelligence as well as their sense of adventure, Esquire Network’s programming will capture the classic voice, impeccable style and unmistakable wit that have come to define Esquire, the original men’s magazine and premier authority on contemporary man. Diverse program categories and genres will feature not only gaming and technology, but also entertainment, food, fashion, women, humor, travel, competition, danger and more."
In an interview with the New York Times about the format and name change, NBCUniversal cable czar Bonnie Hammer described the approach as "an upscale Bravo for men," and said they had to move away from the idea of G4 because, "“Realistically, guys who are into gaming are not necessarily watching television."
The channel will be a mix of repeats — the NBC-owned "Parks and Recreation" and "Party Down" (which also stars Adam Scott, making him the Esquire Network poster boy for the time being) were the first two announced — and original series like "Knife Fight," which is described as "an underground, after-hours cooking competition where talented chefs go head to head in front of a rowdy crowd of celebrities, critics and die-hard foodies." (To make the Bravo connection explicit, the host is former "Top Chef" winner Ilan Hall.) The other original series announced today, tentatively titled "The Getaway," is a travel series produced by Anthony Bourdain.