Esquire Network will replace Style Network when it launches on Sept. 23, not G4 as previously announced, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group chairman Bonnie Hammer announced Monday in an internal memo obtained by B&C.
"Our goal has always been delivery of compelling content by means of distinct, complementary brands, each in its clearly defined lane," Hammer said in the memo. "With Bravo, E! and Oxygen, we offer unique takes on popular culture for an ever-broadening audience, including the all-important female demo. In pursuit of that same demo, Style presents brand overlap within our portfolio."
As a result of the rebrand, current Style series like Giuliana & Bill and Tia & Tamara will remain on Esquire Network or move to one of the NBCU portfolio's other female-targeted networks likely Bravo or Oxygen. Style Media president Salaam Coleman Smith will stay on through the transition while the company searches for another internal placement for her. Though NBCU will seek to minimize layoffs by moving Style staffers to other networks within the portfolio, some will certainly be laid off as a result of the rebrand.
The move means Esquire Network will be available to Style's 75 million households versus G4's 62 million. Esquire Network general manager Adam Stotsky will remain head of G4 as well, which will remain as-is. The network canceled several of its long-running series like Attack of the Showlate last year in anticipation of the rebrand.
Hammer took control of NBCU’s entire cable portfolio in February, including Style, which had previously been the domain of Lauren Zalaznick. Acquired as part of the merger with Comcast, Style underwent a rebrand in summer 2012 to expand the network beyond just fashion and beauty to “stylish living” categories of home design, travel and food.
Esquire Network is being billed to target upscale men, with unscripted lifestyle series like cooking competition Knife Fight, travel show The Getaway and fashion series How I Rock It, as well as acquisitions like Parks and Recreation and Party Down.
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the story.
The Style rebrand was part of a larger management restructuring at NBCU on Monday that saw Bravo president Frances Berwick add oversight of Oxygen, with Oxygen president Jason Klarman leaving the company and Jeff Wachtel promoted to chief content officer for all of the company's cable entertainment networks.