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NBCU eyes upscale makeover for G4

Cabler undergoing rebranding to focus on 'modern male'

G4 is going less geek, more chic.

The NBCUniversal-owned cabler is undergoing a rebranding, according to sources, that could involve a name change and take G4 in a direction reminiscent of GQ, the magazine for the “modern male” whose interests span beyond the dorm room or messy bachelor pad. The guy-centric net is mulling a more sophisticated look while remaining true to its tech and vid game roots. Brand refresh aims to bow in early 2013.

A spokesperson for the network declined comment.

The decade-old net rang in the new year with the appointment of former NBC marketing chief Adam Stotsky as its new general manager. He in turn hired former VH1 and BermanBraun exec Matt Hanna as head of original programming, in addition to making a series of promotions within program planning, acquisitions and marketing departments, reshaping the architecture of G4’s upper ranks.

G4 is currently known for pop-culture yakker “Attack of the Show!” and its fanboy-focused Comic-Con coverage, yet brawny competish series “American Ninja Warrior” has also shown legs on the net.

Available in 60 million homes, G4 has long struggled to find the right brand positioning since Comcast first merged the net with another channel acquisition, TechTV in 2004. Outside brands from WWE to UFC have reportedly eyed G4 over the years as a network home, though nothing came of talks.

As the rebranding begins to coalesce, many male-skewing nets are vying with G4 for profitable young-male demos. Spike has established itself as a go-to for testosterone-fueled programming, for instance, and Velocity continues to unveil a slate of shows focused on cars and sports. History, Discovery and A&E have also established themselves as destinations for men. Were G4 to adopt an upscale male aesthetic, it could conceivably better distinguish itself from the muddled cabler pack.

Rebrand would also not be the first for a net within the NBCU umbrella. This summer, Style network unveiled a new logo and tagline, part of a rebranding effort that had been underway since fall 2011 that has retargeted the cabler aims with fresh content focused on style and fashion experts. E! has also undergone a similar brand refresh that emphasizes the net as a news source for all things pop culture, ramping up a new anchor team in recent weeks.

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