The Esquire Network — a rebranding of the G4 network — has been rumored for a while now, and today the parent company NBCUniversal put out a press release announcing new series including ones from Anthony Bourdain and Ilan Hall. Said to be "the only television network aimed at the full, multi-faceted lives of today's modern men," the Esquire Network will feature "entertainment, food, fashion, women, humor, travel, competition, danger and more."
On the food front (and presumably "danger") there'll be a show called The Getaway that executive-produced by the very busy Anthony Bourdain and Zero Point Zero. According to a press release, it will feature "travel-loving, well known personalities – people deservedly famous for excellence in their fields – who take viewers to their favorite city on the planet, giving the insiders' track on their top spots to eat, drink, shop and hang out." There will also be a show with Top Chef season two winner Ilan Hall called Knife Fight. That show will be "an underground, after-hours cooking competition where talented chefs go head to head in front of a rowdy crowd of celebrities, critics and die-hard foodies." An episode was recently shot at Hall's LA restaurant The Gorbals.
NBCUniversal also owns Bravo, so the Esquire Network is sort of a manlier, less housewives-full version. An NBCU exec told the Times as much, saying that it was an "an upscale Bravo for men." Let's hope the network leverages Hearst's Esquire print property, including restaurant man John Mariani. Who wouldn't want to watch Live From Lincoln Restaurant, It's Late Night With John Mariani? The network debuts April 22. Here's the press release:
G4 to Be Rebranded as the Esquire Network in April 2013, Expanding and Elevating the Network's Programming for Modern, Multi-Faceted Men
Los Angeles and New York – Beginning April 22, 2013, the G4 network will be rebranded the Esquire Network, it was announced today. The network is a strategic partnership between NBCUniversal and Hearst Magazines to create the only television network aimed at the full, multi-faceted lives of today's modern men. Owned and operated by NBCUniversal, Esquire Network will be helmed by General Manager Adam Stotsky, who will work closely with David Granger, Editor in Chief of Esquire magazine, to develop the brand.
"There is a vastly under-served audience in cable TV – today's modern man – and by joining forces with Esquire, we will deliver a multi-platform experience to this upscale, engaged, passionate audience, one that widens the aperture beyond G4's technology and gaming base," Stotsky said. "Esquire magazine brings 80 years of unparalleled insight into what makes men tick, and we will incorporate the best of this iconic brand to produce original shows that build the network for growth and success."
Esquire Network will expand on G4's foundation of games, gear and gadgets to reflect the broad range of interests, passions and aspirations that define men today. Appealing to men's intelligence as well as their sense of adventure, Esquire Network's programming will capture the classic voice, impeccable style and unmistakable wit that have come to define Esquire, the original men's magazine and premier authority on contemporary man. Diverse program categories and genres will feature not only gaming and technology, but also entertainment, food, fashion, women, humor, travel, competition, danger and more.
"What Adam and his people are building is really exciting," said Granger. "Creating smart, entertaining programming for the high-normal American man fills a void in the cable universe. We at Esquire work hard to challenge and inspire and entertain our audience across all our print and digital expressions, and the new Esquire Network is finding new and ambitious ways to take that mission to television. We're thrilled to be part of it."
The network will feature a blend of unscripted and scripted series, and movies and specials that appeal to today's man. Partnering with the industry's top producers and talent, the Esquire Network team is developing a slate of engaging all-new original series such as Knife Fight, a passionate celebration of food, executive produced by Drew Barrymore, Flower Films and Authentic Entertainment. Hosted by "Top Chef" winner Ilan Hall, Knife Fight is an underground, after-hours cooking competition where talented chefs go head to head in front of a rowdy crowd of celebrities, critics and die-hard foodies. Another original series, The Getaway (working title), is executive produced by Anthony Bourdain and Zero Point Zero and features travel-loving, well known personalities – people deservedly famous for excellence in their fields – who take viewers to their favorite city on the planet, giving the insiders' track on their top spots to eat, drink, shop and hang out.
Fan favorite competition series American Ninja Warrior will return for its fifth season, to air this summer on Esquire Network and NBC. Additionally, Esquire Network will complement its slate of original programming with ambitious and witty scripted series that include NBC's Emmy-nominated comedy, Parks and Recreation, and the critically acclaimed series from STARZ, Party Down. Additional programming announcements will be made in the coming weeks.
"One of Hearst's real strengths is our ability to work with cable networks to create winning print-digital-television platforms and we're very excited to partner with NBCUniversal," said David Carey, President of Hearst Magazines. "Esquire Network, coupled with Esquire magazine and Esquire.com, provides an immersive, 360-degree brand experience for consumers and marketers."
Esquire Network will offer a full web and mobile experience, linked to the popular men's destination website Esquire.com. The network's new website will feature original web series that integrate with the network's brand and programming, dedicated mobile apps that provide enhanced digital experiences for original programs, and a substantial social presence in support of the new network. Full episodes will be available via the TV Everywhere initiative and Video On Demand.
"Esquire Network will give advertisers access to one of the most coveted and untapped audiences in the cable entertainment marketplace – the upwardly mobile, educated and highly-engaged man," said Linda Yaccarino, President, Ad Sales at NBCUniversal. "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."
Esquire Network marks the first TV extension of the Esquire brand. As the only general-interest lifestyle magazine for sophisticated men, Esquire defines, reflects and celebrates what it means to be a man in contemporary American culture. Required reading for the man who is intellectually curious and socially aware, Esquire speaks to the scope and diversity of his passions with spirited storytelling, superb style and a tonic splash of irreverent humor.