The long-delayed launch of the Esquire Network will occur later this month not on G4, but on the Style Network, according to an internal NBCUniversal memo obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
NBCUniversal ended up choosing Style as the network to replace because the company has three other existing cable channels that already cater to the female demographic: Bravo, E! and Oxygen. In addition, Style's current viewership is higher than that of G4 — 74 million households for the former, compared to 62 million for the latter — which will give the Esquire Network a better starting position when it launches Sept. 23.
"Style presents brand overlap within our portfolio. Esquire Network, on the other hand, offers an opportunity to introduce a lifestyle network that speaks to an upscale male audience underserved in the current marketplace," said Bonnie Hammer, chairman of the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group, in the memo.
Last December, it was reported that G4 — long a tech- and gaming-focused network geared toward young men — would be rebranded in early 2013 as the Esquire Network. NBCUniversal confirmed a deal with the Hearst Corporation, parent company of Esquire Magazine, this past February and said it planned to replace G4 with the channel April 22. However, NBCUniversal delayed the changeover in mid-April so it could launch the Esquire Network with more original series.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, G4 will continue existing for the time being, although it appears unlikely that NBCUniversal will attempt to bring new, original content to the network. At this point, G4 is primarily a repository for reruns of shows such as Lost and Cops, but still hosts new episodes of American Ninja Warrior, which was set to carry over to Esquire. G4 canceled its long-running video game-focused shows, X-Play and Attack of the Show, last year.
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