As the top brass of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment kept its plan for switching the Esquire rebrand from G4 to Style very close to the vest, Monday’s announcement of the switcheroo caught most of the employees of the the fashion/pop culture cable network by surprise with no contingency plans. I hear about 100 people are impacted. All have been given two-week notices and offered severance packages after their employment ends on Friday, Sept. 20, just before Style’s relaunch as Esquire on Sept. 23. A good portion have been offered opportunities at other NBCU Cable Entertainment networks (the group’s portfolio includes 12 of them.) As of now it is unclear how many Style staffers will stay on in different capacity and how many will leave at the end of next week. (Style president Salaam Coleman-Smith will stay behind to help Esquire topper Adam Stotsky with the transition.)
In her memo announcing the rebrand on Monday, NBCU Cable Entertainment Chairman Bonnie Hammer explained the reasons for Style’s demise. “With Bravo, E! and Oxygen, we offer unique takes on popular culture for an ever-broadening audience, including the all-important female demo,” she said. “In pursuit of that same demo, Style presents brand overlap within our portfolio.” The Style-Esquire rebrand comes a little over a year after Style itself underwent a major rebrand, complete with a new logo, but that was done while Style was still under the oversight of Lauren Zalaznick.