There has been a change of plans for NBCUniversal‘s partnership with Hearst to launch an Esquire-branded cable network. Instead of NBCU’s male-centric G4 it will be the female-oriented Style that will morph into Esquire Network, which would target upscale male viewers. The decision was announced by NBCU chairman Bonnie Hammer. Launch date remains September 23. “Esquire Network offers an opportunity to introduce a lifestyle network that speaks to an upscale male audience underserved in the current marketplace,” she said. “So, in an effort to establish the most productively diversified portfolio, the decision has been made to rebrand Style as the Esquire Network, which will debut on September 23rd, led by Adam Stotsky and his team.” Style topper Salaam Coleman-Smith will stay on for the transition. “Under the effective leadership of Salaam Coleman-Smith, the Style team has demonstrated enormous passion and dedication to their brand,” Hammer said. “We are committed to making the pending changes as smooth as possible for everyone at Style. Salaam will play an integral role in the transition and at NBCUniversal in the future.” The Esquire rebrand deal was made by Hammer as G4 was part of her previous cable portfolio. She added Style to her domain around the same time the pact with Hearst was completed last February. Since then, upon further examination of NBCU’s entire portfolio, Hammer said the …
Beginning April 22, the G4 network will be rebranded the Esquire Network in a partnership between NBCUniversal and Hearst Magazines to create a television network for upscale males. Owned and operated by NBCU, Esquire Network will be helmed by G4 General Manager Adam Stotsky, who will work closely with David Granger, Editor in Chief of Esquire magazine, to develop the brand. G4′s flagship competition series American Ninja Warrior will return for its fifth season, to air this summer on Esquire Network and NBC. Additionally, Esquire Network will air an array of off-network scripted series, including NBC’s Parks And Recreation and Starz’s Party Down, both starring Adam Scott.
Esquire Network plans to expand on G4’s foundation of games, gear and gadgets. Program categories and genres will feature not only gaming and technology but also entertainment, food, fashion, women, humor, travel, competition, danger and more. Esquire’s unscripted projects in development include Knife Fight, 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. “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.”
NBCUniversal may bring in a partner in the upcoming revamp of struggling cable channel G4. I hear that NBCU is in talks with Hearst about partnering on the channel. What’s more, I hear the two sides are exploring a rebranding of the channel tied to the Heast-owned men’s magazine Esquire, possibly as Esquire Channel. Associating G4 with a brand like Esquire would make sense since NBCU had been looking to keep the male-centric nature of the channel but make it more upscale and sophisticated, which is what Esquire is about. NBCU declined comment.
NBCU decided to go with an upscale makeover for G4 after overtures from the likes of UFC and WWE to take a controlling stake in the channel last year fell through. A deal for G4 would reunite NBCU and Hearst, which were co-owners of A+E Networks until NBCU cashed its stake in July. Hearst’s cable holdings include stakes in A+E’s A&E, Lifetime and History, as well as ESPN. As part of G4′s evolution from a gaming/tech channel (as part of Comcast, it was merged with TechTV in 2004) to a more upscale, sophisticated network, G4 announced in October that it is cancelling long-running series Attack Of The Show! and X-Play.
Rebranding G4 would fit into the strategy of NBCU cable maven Bonnie Hammer, who added control of E! and G4 after the …
The network made it official today that production on the long-running shows is shutting down at the end of the year. Attack Of The Show and X-Play helped define G4‘s gamer-culture focus and launched careers for the likes of Olivia Munn and Chris Hardwick, amassing close to 3000 episodes to date. They also provided wall-to-wall coverage of Comic-Con and E3 — two events right in the network’s young-male demo wheelhouse. X-Play launched in 2003 on what was then known as TechTV; Attack followed in 2005. Here’s the network’s release about farewell plans for the shows, which will air original episodes through 2012:
G4’s Attack Of The Show has been hit by attack of the producers. Three segment producers (two former and one current) are bringing a class action suit (read it here) against the G4 Network and its owner NBCUniversal Media over pay, classification and unfair business practices on the live daily tech and pop culture show. The action is being launched by Sean Jordan, Bruce Greene and Yaniv Fituci on behalf of the group. They say the network intentionally misclassified them and others as exempt to not pay “all the wages to which they were and are entitled under federal and California law” when they worked over 40 hours a week.
The three, who are seeking a five- to seven-day jury trial, claim that, among other infractions, they were denied breaks and forced to drive 120 miles back home from a location shoot because the network wouldn’t pay for hotel rooms. They also claim that just last month one of the show’s executive producers “made a point of chastising” Jordan, who still works for G4, about requesting the show to hire more people to meet the increasing work load. They also allege that G4 and NBCUniversal not only failed to maintain accurate payrolls and withheld wages but “committed unfair business in an effort to increase profits and to gain an unfair business advantage at the expense of …
EXCLUSIVE: A little over a month after former NBC marketing president Adam Stotsky took over NBCUniversal’s G4 as General Manager, he is reorganizing the cable network’s executive team. Two longtime G4 executives have been promoted: Matt Monos to SVP Planning & Acquisitions, and David Angehrn to SVP Marketing. Lorenzo de Guttadauro is joining G4 from NBC in the newly created position of SVP Brand & Creative. Meanwhile, the channel’s top programming executive, EVP Programming and Production John Rieber, has exited, along with its marketing chief, SVP Creative Services Scott Bantle. Rieber used to oversee development & production as well as planning and acquisitions. The job has now been split in two, with Monos taking over planning and acquisitions and another executive to lead development and production. The search for that person is already underway. “Matt and David are smart, savvy and deeply committed, and their expanded roles will play an integral part in G4’s growth and success,” Stotsky said. “Lorenzo is an excellent addition to the team, and we will all benefit from his energy, passion and innovative approach as we guide the brand into the future.”
With the broadcast networks struggling to successfully launch a reality series in the past couple of summers, NBC is reaching to its new corporate sibling G4 for original summer fare. NBC will share with G4 the upcoming fourth season of G4′s popular obstacle course competition series American Ninja Warrior. Last summer, NBC aired ANW‘s two-hour third season finale, which posted decent ratings. This year, NBC will be taking on a bigger role, with G4 carrying the preliminary rounds and the broadcast network airing the preliminary finals, as well as the grand finale. For the first time, each leg of the competition will be held entirely on U.S. soil after the original Japanese broadcaster, Tokyo Broadcasting System Television, helped bring the course and all different designs to the U.S. The finalists, vying for a $500,000 cash prize in the national finals in Las Vegas, will be selected at six regional qualifying competitions throughout the country. ANW, whose Season 3 debut ranked as G4’s most-watched original season premiere ever, is produced by A. Smith & Co.
Adam Stotsky, who left his post as president of marketing at NBC in August, is returning to NBCUniversal as General Manager of G4. In his new role, effective immediately, Stotsky will oversee all facets of G4, including programming, development, production, marketing, press and publicity, and digital operations, reporting to Bonnie Hammer, Chairman, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios. This marks Stotsky’s reunion with Hammer for whom he worked during his tenure at Syfy. “Adam is one of the best brand strategists I’ve ever worked with,” said Hammer. “I’m confident that he’ll provide tremendous leadership and unlock G4′s potential as a genuine force on the media landscape.” Stotsky succeeds Neal Tiles, who stepped down as president of G4 earlier today after more than six years on the job.
EXCLUSIVE: Neal Tiles is departing G4, where he has served as president since September 2005. The cable network, previously owned by Comcast, is now under the purview of Bonnie Hammer following last year’s Comcast-NBCUniversal merger. Here is Tiles’ internal email to the staff:
After much deliberation, I’ve decided it’s time for me to step down as President of G4. To say that it’s been a rewarding 6 1/2 years would be an understatement. Simply it’s been the greatest challenge of my career. However, I feel the need to move on to my next challenge. Together, we’ve accomplished so much…it has been nothing but an honor to work with so many passionate individuals here.
I know Bonnie remains committed to the network and you’ll be hearing from her shortly. I have started the transition with Bonnie and I am sure you will be in great hands moving forward.
Until then, I wish you all continued success.
All the best,
There is no scheduling drama over President Barack Obama’s speech on jobs between the White House and the broadcast networks. The networks will all carry the speech, which, in a rare occasion, is not in primetime as it starts at 7 PM ET tomorrow. NBC was the only network that had to make a significant adjustment as it had the NFL kickoff pre-game scheduled for 7 PM, leading into the 8:30 PM season-opening game between the Saints and the Packers. The pre-game is being moved to NBC’s sibling cable channels Versus, USA, Syfy and G4 as well as the NFL Network, with NBC joining the program in progress immediately after the president’s address. Last week, the White House and House Speaker John Boehner went back-and-forth on the timing of the speech, which Obama originally planned for Wednesday but ultimately pushed to Thursday after getting pushback from Boehner.
Fox Sports and mixed-martial arts league UFC have just finalized a multi-year deal that will put at least four primetime MMA cards on the Fox network each year and weekly programming on cable sibling FX. The Sports Business Journal says the deal could be worth as much as $90 million a year over seven or eight years; Fox Sports declined to comment. A broadcast deal is a big step up for UFC, which in addition to lucrative pay-per-view events has weekly shows on cable nets Versus and Spike TV — under the new agreement with Fox, that programming will move to FX beginning in January after those deals expire. (Spike TV still owns rights to a library of UFC programming, including episodes of UFC Unleashed, through 2012.) Fuel, another Fox-owned cable network, also will see some UFC programming, SBJ says. The deal also is a coup for Fox: In June, it was reported that Comcast’s NBCUniversal was in serious negotiations with UFC, with those talks centered on the league taking a controlling stake in NBCU’s G4 cable network, which sported the right young-male demo but has seen ratings challenges. NBCU-owned Versus also already had UFC programming. Instead, rival Fox has taken those demo eyeballs away.
A group of musicians protesting the Recording Academy’s move to drop 31 categories from the Grammy Awards is calling for a boycott of CBS, which airs the annual awards event, as well as the sponsors who advertise during the show, the Associated Press reported. The academy in April trimmed the number of categories from 109 to 78, saying the changes would hold for at least next year’s Grammys in February. …
Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert received approval today from the Federal Election Commission to start his own political action committee, which means he can raise money and produce and buy TV time for political ads. If the ads air anywhere but on his Viacom-owned show, they must disclose their funding sources. Colbert started the campaign to mock Citizens United, a PAC that won a Supreme Court case relaxing national campaign finance rules. “I don’t know about you but I do not accept limits on my free speech, I don’t know about you but I do not accept the status quo. But I do accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express,” he told a crowd in Washington DC after the ruling. …
NBC will televise the season finale of fellow Comcast network G4′s original series American Ninja Warrior on Aug. 22 as part of a two-hour primetime special.
Following Ryan Dunn’s death in a car accident this morning, G4 has put his new show Proving Ground on an indefinite hiatus. Proving Ground featured the Jackass alum as he tried to re-create in the real world professional stunts from films and TV shows as well as imaginary ones from video games. The series, which has eight more episodes in the can, started off slowly last week with 31,000 viewers for its Tuesday premiere. “The show will not be airing for now and discussions are underway re future plans,” a G4 spokeswoman said. Earlier in the day, the cable network issued a statement on the passing of Dunn, 34, who crashed his car early this morning in a wooded area in Pennsylvania, killing himself and his passenger: “All of us at G4 are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic news that Ryan Dunn has passed away. Ryan’s comedic wit and signature no-holds-barred approach made him an incredible talent and his work on G4’s Proving Ground was flawless. Ryan will be missed dearly by his legion of fans and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Comcast is continuing to mull what to do with all of its NBCUniversal assets. The latest example: The Wall Street Journal reports today that NBCU is in talks with mixed-martial arts league Ultimate Fighting Championship to take a controlling stake in the company’s struggling G4 cable network. The league is looking for an outlet to promote its sport to a growing fan base of young men, the exact target demographic of G4, which focuses on gaming and gadgets but is struggling ratings-wise and recently was dropped by DirecTV. It makes sense — UFC has a distribution deal with Spike TV that expires at year’s end and already shows events on Comcast’s Versus network — but NBCU should watch out for that backlash: It has added wrestling programming to its Syfy channel, sparking complaints from fans angry that their core sci-fi programming is being pushed aside.
Los Angeles, CA, July 26, 2010 – G4 will be the exclusive U.S. television home of four brand-new anime series featuring some of the most successful and iconic brands from the Marvel Universe. Produced by Madhouse for Marvel Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan (SPEJ), these four original series – “Iron Man,” “X-MEN,” “Wolverine” and “Blade” - will premiere on the network in 2011 and will air as standalone series made up of twelve 30-minute episodes under the guidance of Warren Ellis.