February 18, 2013
Last week, NBC Universal and Esquire magazine confirmed rumors that the Esquire Network will debut in April on cable television. The new network will exist as a rebrand of the G4 channel, and will be available in more than 60 million homes.
The Esquire Network will target men 18-to-49-years-old who are highly educated and upscale, a demographic that NBC Universal says is currently being under-served by existing TV networks.
At first glance, I think it’s a genius idea. It’s easy to see how the programming on SpikeTV, Discovery and ESPN may not hit all the facets of a “modern” man’s interests. I mean, once you’ve seen one pawn shop or storage locker show, you’ve seen them all, right? And how do I, as a woman, know this? I consider witnessing the target audience’s TV habits everyday for five years an adequate license to pass judgment.
The partnership announcement also offered a first look at the various programs that will complete Esquire Network’s lineup — both acquired programs and original programming.
The first acquired programs are “Parks and Recreation” and “Party Down.” If you’re not familiar with “Party Down,” just know that it’s a program about young caterers in Los Angeles that had an unfairly short run on Starz a few years ago. Oh, and you should know that it’s really freakin funny.
The single fact that the Esquire Network is bringing “Party Down” to the cable masses gives me hope that the network might succeed in reaching its target audience. Take my focus group of one: After informing my very modern fiancé of the new Esquire channel, I asked him if he thought he would tune in. After learning that the magazine would not be controlling the programming, his first reaction was “No,” he would not watch the new channel. When I mentioned “Party Down,” his reaction changed immediately: “For ‘Party Down’ alone, I will watch it. Quote that. That’s real.”
On the other hand, it sounds like the area where the Esquire Network may slip up is in original programming. The first two concepts teased in the announcement, a reality cook-off competition named “Knife Fight” and a travel show called “The Getaway,” sound like trite ideas that they’re trying to tack “FOR MEN” on to make them seem different. And, if these are the two programs they’re using in an announcement, I can’t imagine what else they have in store for us when the excitement wears down.
So, I’d like to offer up my own programming suggestions to the team over at the new Esquire Network: