When it first came out that NBC Universal was thinking about rebranding G4 as the Esquire network, it was with the basic notion that it would be targeting the “largely untapped metrosexual viewership.” On Sunday, thanks to the New York Times’ Bill Carter, we learned from NBC Universal executives that the plan is to create an “upscale Bravo for men,” per NBCU cable chairman Bonnie Hammer. That means shows about things like “cars, politics, world affairs, travel, fashion and cooking,” Adam Stotsky, the network’s new general manager, told Carter. Basically, the network wants to target men with content other than “tattoos or pawn shops or storage lockers or axes or hillbillies.”
That seems like a reasonable enough goal, but it’s not one born directly of Esquire. Neither of the two shows mentioned in carter’s item, a cooking competition called Knife Fight and a travel show called The Getaway, came from the magazine’s editorial process. “This is not the magazine on TV; that would not work. The idea is to capture the essence of the magazine,” David Carey, president of Esquire publisher Hearst, told Carter. Whatever it is, NBCU hopes Esquire Network will attract more viewers than gaming-focused G4. As Hammer astutely observed, “guys who are into gaming are not necessarily watching television.” And that’s why she gets the big promotion.