On the face of it, it might seem odd that Bravo, the home of Booze Britain and Street Crime, which is striving to shed its "lad's TV" image, should parade "Loaded man" James Brown as the front of the channel's relaunch at a recent media gathering.
Bravo is moving upmarket, targeting 16 to 44-year-old men with a mix of Italian football, drama, comedy, action and gritty documentaries, the first of which is the James Brown-hosted I Predict A Riot.
Bravo's revamp will be followed by the launch next month of a sister Flextech channel, Player, with a focus on sport, US drama and poker, but aimed at younger 16 to 34-year-old "risk takers" (Media Week, page 5, 21 February).
With ITV also aggressively targeting men through ITV4, it seems television is becoming the new battle- ground for broadcasters and advertisers seeking to reach that elusive, notoriously light TV viewing, young male audience.
Among other media, magazines have had the most success in tapping into this group by creating a young male mag-buying habit in the mid-1990s. So it is perhaps no surprise that TV should tap into the expertise of a lad's mag guru like Brown.
Lad's weeklies Nuts and Zoo, with combined sales of more than half a million, are the latest examples of publishers' success in the male market, yet Tim Brooks, managing director of Nuts publisher IPC Ignite!, questions whether TV can replicate that success.
"One of the key reasons why Nuts has been doing so well as an advertising vehicle is because nobody on television has yet found the right formula," says Brooks.
TV's failure thus far is that it has failed to challenge men, according to Jonathan Webb, director of programming for Bravo, Trouble and Challenge. "Drama has a female bias. Reality certainly does," he says. "But look at the lack of programmes with a male bias. There is upmarket stuff on BBC4 and Discovery, but it's so rarefied and niche."
Webb claims Bravo has more in common with Jack - another Brown magazine inspiration, aimed at older, more sophisticated men - than Loaded, and points out that I Predict A Riot attracted a 66% ABC1 profile in its first three episodes.
As well as getting Serie A football, Bravo has substantially increased its commissioning budget for original content. But will a line-up that includes a behind-the-scenes look by Stan Collymore into why footballers go "bad" and shows about football hooligans enable the channels to do anything but build a slightly bigger niche?
Whether it has the programming budget to compete with the big boys is another matter.
Dylan Jones, editor of men's mag GQ, is doubtful. "If you want to put the sort of material that's in Loaded and Front on TV, then it's probably quite easy," he says. "I just think a lot of the programming on these channels will be incredibly low rent."
For media agencies, the elusive male is anything but cheap, with a cost per thousand of around £100 compared to around £8 for the average adult viewer. And while the average adult watches three and a half hours of television a night, the 16 to 34-year-old male watches just two.
Contradicting the stereotype of the male hogger of the TV remote control, research shows that men often defer to their partners' choice, and even when they have charge of the remote, they "bounce all over the place", according to John Davidson, TV buying director at Starcom Mediavest.
Consequently, media buyers tend to play safe in their targeting of young men, and that inevitably means Sky Sports. "The road to young male impacts is fraught with danger," reflects David Walker, TV group controller at Initiative.
He adds: "ITV4 launched last November and with three months data and looking at viewing of multi-channel stations, it is achieving just a 0.85% share of 16 to 34 male impacts. "Above ITV4 in the pecking order are stations like Sci Fi, ITV3, Nick Jr and Boomerang."
Ironically, C4, which has E4 focused at young women but no plans for a male equivalent, attracts the biggest percentage of male 16-34 terrestrial commercial ratings, through unisex shows like Lost.
Yet buying young male viewers through Lost and Big Brother is inefficient, and if Flextech can succeed in attracting sufficient advertiser-friendly men, then it might well succeed. After all, the doomsayers once said Loaded would never attract advertisers.