NBCUniversal announced today that it is rebranding G4 as the Esquire Network. This means two things, primarily: First, it means that beginning April 22, the cable channel will undergo a dramatic shift in programming, moving away from the gaming and geek culture focus of G4 toward a more Esquire-y focus on men and the things men do and like. Second, it means big shot TV executives are throwing around phrases like “an upscale Bravo for men” and “what being a man today is all about” and “what makes men tick,” which should set off thousands of alarm sirens in your head. I mean, “an upscale Bravo for men” alone sent me into DEFCON 3. What does that even mean? I’m terrified.
Luckily, they provided a little clarification.
Specifically, NBC is hoping to capture a more educated, affluent, sophisticated male viewer, who is not being served, as its research concluded, by the male-oriented, nonsports programming on cable channels like Discovery and Spike. “Much of today’s programming targets men in a one-dimensional way,” Mr. Stotsky said, with what he called “down-market shows” about “tattoos or pawn shops or storage lockers or axes or hillbillies.” [NY Times]
Okay, first of all, as an educated, affluent, sophisticated male viewer, let me state for the record that there are not NEARLY enough shows on television about axes, and I resent the implication that there are. There should be a whole network devoted to axe-related programming, if only for headlines like “Axe Network Axes Reality Axe Show.” I am passionate about this.
Anyway, the article goes on to say that the network plans to air shows like Knife Fight, “a reality competition about ‘after-hours cook-offs’ among young chefs,” and reruns of programs already owned by NBCUniversal. For example:
Two comedies that will appear are in the category of more sophisticated recent comedies, he said. One, “Parks and Recreation,” is owned by NBC and still on the broadcast network. It will get its first cable exposure on the Esquire Network.
The other, “Party Down,” about young caterers, achieved some cult status when it played on the cable network Starz three years ago.
If this network airs nothing but reruns of Parks & Rec and Party Down, and cooking shows with titles like Knife Fight, maybe it won’t be that bad after all. Although one axe show couldn’t hurt. Just sayin’.