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NBCU shutters linear Esquire Network

NBCUniversal has pulled the plug on the linear feed of its US lifestyle cable channel Esquire Network.

Adam StotskyThe brand will live on as a digital-only proposition focused on men, featuring original programming such as newly-announced Borderland USA (WT) and Edgehill, plus existing shows that include Best Bars in America, Knife Fight and Brew Dogs.

There was no official word on implications for staff, but various American media outlets reported layoffs are expected.

NBCU launched the channel as a joint venture with Hearst Magazines, which publishes the Esquire print title, in September 2013 as a rebranded Style Network that focuses on wealthy men.

However, AT&T DirecTV and its U-Verse subsidiary decided to drop the network in December at the cost of 15 million homes in the US. That brought overall distribution down to around 45 million, and renewal discussions with Charter were reported to be rocking.

E! Entertainment and Esquire Network president Adam Stotsky (pictured) claimed the channel had seen “consistent growth among total viewers and key demos and has delivered significant value to our advertising partners”, but added: “Men today consume content on a variety of platforms and it is essential that we follow our viewers.”

“We look forward to our continued partnership with NBCUniversal with this digital driven, forward-looking strategy, which reinforces the brand’s premium value proposition,” said Hearst Magazine president David Carey.