What if your favorite lifestyle magazine got its own TV show? Announced a while back, it’s finally happening for the readers of Hearst Corporation’s Esquire. The 80-year-old magazine that used to publish Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Mailer and Wolfe (Tom, not Thomas) is in cahoots with NBCUniversal to launch eight original TV shows as Esquire TV, beginning September 23. It’s everything you imagine it to be: men wearing tuxedos (How I Rock It), making their own beer (Brew Dogs), falling off mountain bikes (Boundless), severing pigs’ heads (Knife Fight), with pretty women clapping and screaming and watching with approval.
It’s an easy synergy to imagine taking shape in the marketing meeting. From NBCU’s perspective, why build a brand from scratch (it took Bravo decades to find its stride) when you can just cajole venerable print properties already terrified by the digital age? And for the glossy magazine itself, what’s glossier than TV, which is getting cheaper to produce than paper anyway? The Esquire Network hits the air looking to fill a metrosexual mandate somehow left open by NBCU’s other niche networks, e.g., Bravo (Real Housewives, Top Chef), E! (Chelsea Lately) and Oxygen (Bad Girls Club). Esquire hopes to make rival GQ (owned by Condé Nast) regret passing on the opportunity to reach 65 million American households. That giant number must factor large in Esquire‘s dreams; the print magazine currently has a rate base of 700,000 readers, which it calls “well-educated, urbane, and affluent.” It’s a description it may have to dial back a bit, if it starts to find success on TV.