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NBCUniversal will rebrand G4 as Esquire Network in a new deal with the magazine’s publisher, Hearst Magazines. The news comes months after G4’s most popular shows were cancelled and after it was first rumored that NBCUniversal might be working with Hearst.
The New York Times confirmed that NBCUniversal is set to make it official, describing Esquire Network as “an upscale Bravo for men.” The network will start on April 22 and will be in 62 million homes.
NBC top cable executive Bonnie Hammer, who now oversees Bravo as well, explained that this isn’t a true joint venture. “We own G4...There are no ownership issues here,” she told the NY Times. Hearst Magazines president David Carey added, “We have a strong interest in this succeeding.”
G4 viewers will see the network go in a radically different direction than the gamer-oriented network they know. X-Play and Attack of the Show!, the network’s most well known programs, were cancelled back in October. It was first rumored that G4 would become Esquire Network in December.
“Much of today’s programming targets men in a one-dimensional way,” Adam Stotsky, who was named the network’s general manager, told the NY Times. He said that most shows are “down-market shows” on “tattoos or pawn shops or storage lockers or axes or hillbillies.”
The network won’t just copy material from the magazine, although the website’s Funny Joke From a Beautiful Woman will make it to the network.
In a press release posted at The Wrap, NBCUniversal noted that it already has several new shows in production, including Knife Fight and The Getaway. American Ninja Warrior will return for a fifth season.