There has been a change of plans for NBCUniversal‘s partnership with Hearst to launch an Esquire-branded cable network. Instead of NBCU’s male-centric G4 it will be the female-oriented Style that will morph into Esquire Network, which would target upscale male viewers. The decision was announced by NBCU chairman Bonnie Hammer. Launch date remains September 23. “Esquire Network offers an opportunity to introduce a lifestyle network that speaks to an upscale male audience underserved in the current marketplace,” she said. “So, in an effort to establish the most productively diversified portfolio, the decision has been made to rebrand Style as the Esquire Network, which will debut on September 23rd, led by Adam Stotsky and his team.” Style topper Salaam Coleman-Smith will stay on for the transition. “Under the effective leadership of Salaam Coleman-Smith, the Style team has demonstrated enormous passion and dedication to their brand,” Hammer said. “We are committed to making the pending changes as smooth as possible for everyone at Style. Salaam will play an integral role in the transition and at NBCUniversal in the future.” The Esquire rebrand deal was made by Hammer as G4 was part of her previous cable portfolio. She added Style to her domain around the same time the pact with Hearst was completed last February. Since then, upon further examination of NBCU’s entire portfolio, Hammer said the consensus was that the Style brand was redundant alongside Bravo, E! and Oxygen. “One of the hallmarks of our success is brand clarity,” she said. “With Bravo, E! and Oxygen, we offer unique takes on popular culture for an ever-broadening audience, including the all-important female demo. In pursuit of that same demo, Style presents brand overlap within our portfolio.” In the past several months, Esquire Network has amassed off-network series, including NBC’s Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and Parks And Recreation and Starz’s Party Down, and has ordered a couple of unscripted series.
For the foreseeable future, G4, which had focused on games, gear and gadgets, will stay status quo with Stotsky at the helm. In anticipation of the transition to Esquire, the network had been winding down original production, cancelling long-running series Attack of The Show and X-Play last fall. Its flagship show American Ninja Warrior is being shared with NBC.