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NBCUniversal to transform G4 into Esquire Network

Cabler's new programming will target upscale men

Looking to move beyond the tech-friendly young male audience that has been its demo for years, NBCUniversal-owned G4 is receiving a makeover.

As of April 22 the channel will be rebranded the Esquire Network, creating a partnership with the venerable Hearst magazine. Move is aimed to expand the audience beyond gamers to mature male viewers, the typical readers for the 80-year-old magazine.

G4 topper Adam Stotsky will lead the charge, working with Esquire editor-in-chief David Granger to develop programming.

Reality skeins will remain the net’s primary genre while it also develops scripted fare. There will be a growing emphasis on entertainment-related shows, as well as food, fashion, women, humor, travel and competition themes.

“There is a vastly underserved audience in cable TV — today’s modern man — and by joining forces with Esquire, we will deliver a multiplatform experience to this upscale, engaged, passionate audience, one that widens the aperture beyond G4’s technology and gaming base,” Stotsky said. “Esquire brings 80 years of unparalleled insight into what makes men tick.”

Shows in development include “Knife Fight,” from exec producer Drew Barrymore, where chefs cook in front of rowdy crowds. There’s also Anthony Bourdain’s “The Getaway,” in which auds learn the ins and outs of a city that may be unfamiliar to them.

Other programming that will have a place on Esquire include current G4 series “American Ninja Warrior,” as well as Peacock comedy “Parks and Recreation” and former Starz series “Party Down.”

Already owning several cablers that attract a female demo — Bravo, Oxygen, Style and E! — NBCU sees Esquire as a way to receive top dollar from advertisers looking to reach high-income males.

Linda Yaccarino, president of ad sales at NBCU, said: “We are already in talks with key clients and developing fully integrated opportunities for them to align their brands with this elusive, hard-to-reach demo.”