G4 is that network that probably falls more or less exactly in your demographic, yet you never really watched it—save for the few times you flipped by and noticed Sara Underwood was wearing very little on "Attack of the Show." Nevertheless, the channel is in the news today, because it doesn't exist anymore.
From the New York Times:
On Monday, NBCUniversal will announce that it has concluded a deal with Hearst Magazines to rebrand one of NBC’s existing cable properties, the G4 network, as a new entity, the Esquire Network. The purpose: to refashion a cable channel that has been devoted to video gaming and devices into what NBC’s top cable executive described as “an upscale Bravo for men.”
Only last week, that executive, Bonnie Hammer, added Bravo — the network of “Real Housewives” and other female-centric lifestyle programming — to the portfolio of cable networks she oversees, so the juxtaposition is well timed. The Esquire Network will have its debut on April 22. It will be available in 62 million homes with cable or satellite service.
For viewers of the G4 network, the change will mean a sharp shift from the gaming-centered programming that attracted some men to shows that will draw an audience that NBC executives are persuaded Esquire stands for: “The modern man, what being a man today is all about,” as Adam Stotsky, the general manager of the new network, said.
Specifically, NBC is hoping to capture a more educated, affluent, sophisticated male viewer, who is not being served, as its research concluded, by the male-oriented, nonsports programming on cable channels like Discovery and Spike. “Much of today’s programming targets men in a one-dimensional way,” Mr. Stotsky said, with what he called “down-market shows” about “tattoos or pawn shops or storage lockers or axes or hillbillies.”
First of all, don't downtalk shows about "tattoos or pawn shops." I spent a highly enjoyable three straight hours Saturday morning glued to my couch, transfixed by a new show called "Picked Off" that features teams traveling around the Gulf Coast and finding valuable antiques. These teams bring back their antiques to be judged by two dickish professional appraisers named Todd and Ethan, who... well, never mind. This post isn't about "Picked Off." (Currently airing in reruns.)
The point is that G4 is now the "Esquire Channel," aimed at "affluent, sophisticated men." Gone are any of the video game-centric shows of the past. In their place are reruns of "Party Down" and "Parks and Recreation." Non-Adam Scott programming will be a new Anthony Bourdain show, "The Getaway," a cooking show produced by, uh, Drew Barrymore called "Knife Fight," and "American Ninja Warrior," the only confirmed returning show.
And that's all we really know about it. The Esquire influence seems to be more about brand recognition than any real ties between the magazine and the channel, which sucks, because I'd kill to get 30 minutes of Charles Pierce ranting about the news once a week. NBC is just trying here to kill off that video game stigma and is aiming for the ideal Esquire reader.
But enough about that. Bummed about G4's departure? Excited about the idea of a Drew Barrymore cooking show? Want me to tell you more about "Picked Off?" Comment section is below.
[H/T: MTV News]