NBC Universal dissolves G4, rebrands it as 'The Esquire Network'

Because nothing quite says "hip brand rejuvenation" like associating your channel with an 80-year-old magazine, NBCUniversal today announced the rebranding and makeover of its G4 television channel into "The Esquire Channel" (as in Esquire magazine). G4 primarily aired video game-centric programming, as well as a vast array of re-runs -- something NBC exec Bonnie Hammer doesn't think was the best idea. "Realistically, guys who are into gaming are not necessarily watching television," Hammer said, directly refuting the 2012 statistic that 49 percent of US households own a gaming console. "Let's create a real brand, define a space, understand who we are programming for." The New York Times reports that The Esquire Channel will be pitched as "an upscale Bravo for men," though it's not exactly clear what that means -- we'll find out on April 22 when the network goes live in 62 million homes.

For now, NBC's got demographics its targeting. Specifically, "a more educated, affluent, sophisticated male viewer," says the NYT piece. One thing it won't be? Reality shows with a noun and the word "wars" behind it. "Much of today's programming targets men in a one-dimensional way ... tattoos or pawn shops or storage lockers or axes or hillbillies," Esquire Channel's general manager Adam Stotsky said. It doesn't look like the channel's beyond reality programming altogether, with its first two shows being a cooking competition named Knife Fight and its other being a celebrity-based travel show named The Getaway. Nor is it beyond the aforementioned re-runs, announcing Parks & Recreation and Party Down as headed for syndication on the forthcoming channel.

[Photo credit: The New York Times]