G4 Officially Becomes Esquire Network

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G4, once billed as TV for gamers, has been dying a slow death for a long time. NBC Universal has finally put it down, announcing its long rumored plan to change G4 into the Esquire Network. NBC Universal Cable Chairman Bonnie Hammer describes the new channel as an “upscale Bravo for men.”

Esquire Magazine holds no ownership in the new channel, its involvement is only in branding. NBC wants an older, more upscale demographic it doesn’t believe Spike or G4’s current incarnation is reaching. Shows on the Esquire Network will focus on many of the things Esquire Magazine does: cars, travel, fashion and food.   We know about two original shows so far. Knife Fight is about cooking competitions between young chefs. The Getaway is a travel show featuring celebrities. While the new network gets its bearings, other NBC reruns will help fill in the gaps. Parks and Recreation and Starz show Party Down are up first.

Let’s see, shows inspired by a print magazine combined with critically acclaimed but low rated programs? I’m not convinced this is a great long-term plan. But I’ve shed all the tears I can for G4. It was obvious execs had no idea how to plan programming for a “video game network.” Recent programming consisted of one show about gaming and one about pop culture surrounded by endless reruns of Cops, Cheaters and old movies. Two shows don’t make a network.

Hammer told the New York Times that guys who are into gaming don’t watch much television. She couldn’t be more wrong. In the early days when G4 was good, I postponed countless gaming sessions to watch a new episode of X-Play or Icons. I’ve watched hours of G4’s Electronic Entertainment Expo and San Diego Comic-Con coverage. I watched Attack of The Show until both the hosts that made it entertaining left. NBC Universal wanted to do something else with this channel years ago, it just took forever to figure out what that was.

Read [New York Times]


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