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NBCUniversal, Esquire To Launch Esquire Network

Video Game-Themed G4 To Be Rebranded As New Service 2/11/2013 4:00 AM Eastern

 NBCUniversal and Esquire Magazine will rebrand video game-centric channel G4 this April in an effort to reach upscale men, the two parties announced Monday.

The Esquire Network, which will be owned and operated by NBCUniversal, will replace the 10-year old G4 channel which targeted young males with mostly video-gaming content. G4 averaged 130,000 primetime viewers in 2012, a 2% increase from the prior year.

G4 general manager Adam Stotsky will run the new Esquire Network, which will officially launch on April 22, according to NBCUniversal.

“There is a vastly under-served audience in cable TV – today’s modern man – and by joining forces with Esquire, we will deliver a multi-platform experience to this upscale, engaged, passionate audience, one that widens the aperture beyond G4’s technology and gaming base,” Stotsky said in a statement. “Esquire magazine brings 80 years of unparalleled insight into what makes men tick, and we will incorporate the best of this iconic brand to produce original shows that build the network for growth and success.”

Esquire Network will offer original reality series  such as food-themed network Knife Fight, produced by  Drew Barrymore; and travel-themed The Getaway (working title), executive produced by Travel Channel personality Anthony Bourdain.

The network will retain popular G4 series American Ninja Warrior from G4 and will offer acquired series Parks and Recreation and off-STARZ comedy Party Down.

The move comes a week after NBCUniversal Entertainment chairman Bonnie Hammer added oversight of Bravo, Bravo, Oxygen, Style, Sprout and TV One to her portfolio that already included USA, Syfy, E!, G4, Cloo, Chiller and Universal HD.