Spike (TV channel)
|Launched||March 7, 1983
September 25, 2000 (as The New TNN)
August 11, 2003 (as Spike)
|Owned by||Spike Cable Networks, Inc.
(a subsidiary of Viacom Media Networks, wholly owned by Viacom)
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
|Headquarters||New York, New York, United States|
|Formerly called||The Nashville Network (1983–2000)
The National Network (2000–2003)
The New TNN (2000–2003)
Spike TV (2003–2006)
|Dish Network||241 (HD/SD)|
|Bell TV (Canada)||628|
|Shaw Direct (Canada)||584 / 268|
|4040 V / 29270 / 3/4
|4060 H / 29270 / 3/4
|Verizon FiOS||554 (HD)
|Rogers Cable (Canada)||279|
|Seaside Communications (Canada)||15|
|Available on most cable systems||Check Local Listings for channels|
|AT&T U-verse||1145 (HD)
Spike (formerly known as Spike TV) is an American general entertainment cable television channel. It launched on March 7, 1983 as The Nashville Network (TNN), a joint venture of WSM, Inc. (a subsidiary of National Life and Accident Insurance Company) and Group W Satellite Communications; Gaylord Entertainment Company acquired the channel a few months later. After several changes of ownership and name, Spike currently operates as part of Viacom Media Networks, owned by Viacom.
Spike is available in 98.7 million American homes. It features re-runs of popular shows such as CSI, CSI: NY, Unsolved Mysteries, and The Ren & Stimpy Show, along with various original programs and movies, all targeting males 18–34. It is also the home of Impact Wrestling, the flagship show of professional wrestling organization Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. As of 2006, Spike's viewership was almost half women (45%), although many of them are reported to be watching it with male partners or family members, or were watching the CSI franchise. The average age of the channel's viewers was 42 years old.
In October 2007, Kevin Kay was appointed network president after being executive vice president and general manager of the channel for the previous two years. The post had been vacant since December 2006.
The Nashville Network era (1983–2000) 
Spike was originally launched on March 7, 1983 as The Nashville Network (TNN), a country living and country music-themed television channel, from the now-defunct Opryland USA theme park near Nashville, Tennessee. Country Music Television (CMT), founded by Glenn D. Daniels, beat TNN's launch by two days, robbing them of the claim of "first country music cable television network." TNN's flagship shows included Nashville Now, The Statler Brothers Show, American Sports Cavalcade, and Grand Ole Opry Live. Nashville Now and the Grand Ole Opry were broadcast live from Opryland USA. The Gaylord Entertainment Company purchased TNN and the Opryland properties in the latter half of 1987. Much of TNN's programming (except for its sports) during the Gaylord era was originally produced by Opryland Productions, also owned by Gaylord Entertainment. From 1983–1992, all of TNN's auto racing and motor sports coverage was produced by Diamond P Sports. Starting in 1993, TNN started having their NASCAR coverage produced by World Sports Enterprises, and the American Speed Association coverage produced by Group 5 Sports, while Diamond P continued to produce most of the rest of the racing coverage. Programming included variety shows, talk shows, game shows, outdoor shows (such as hunting and fishing), and lifestyle shows; all centered in some way around country music or the country style of living. Some of TNN's popular on-air talent included local Nashville media personalities Ralph Emery, Dan Miller, Charlie Chase, and Lorianne Crook, as well as established stars such as country music singer Bill Anderson and actresses Florence Henderson and Dinah Shore. By 1995, TNN was acquired by Westinghouse Electric Corporation, which owned CBS; two years later, Westinghouse bought CMT, TNN's chief competitor. In 1998, the channel dropped its "The Nashville Network" moniker and shortened its official name to the simpler TNN, and ownership shifted to Viacom in the late 1990s after its acquisition of CBS Corporation, Westinghouse's successor. TNN subsequently relocated its headquarters to New York City from Nashville and folded into Viacom's MTV Networks division.
The National Network, The New TNN and the WWE era (2000–2003) 
On September 25, 2000, Viacom sensed redundancy among its TNN and CMT channels when it merged them into its MTV Networks unit. Hence, the company decided to refocus TNN, and in the process the channel dramatically scaled back its country-western programs and changed its name to The National Network.
The network's name change also triggered a significant programming change in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience than the channel's original rural/working-class Southern demographic. This change was catalyzed by Viacom's acquisition of the rights to World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE) programming, including its flagship show RAW Is War. Football also became more prominent on the network, as it began airing games of the original Arena Football League (AFL) with Eli Gold as an announcer. The National Network was also one of three networks to air games of the ill-fated XFL (NBC and UPN being the other two). As part of its contract, TNN had the rights to a late Sunday afternoon game each week except for the first week, when UPN aired the afternoon game instead.
TNN aired the first opening-round game of the 2001 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship when organizers expanded the field to 65 teams; it was produced by CBS Sports with CBS announcers.The game coverage moved to ESPN in 2002.
In 2001, TNN added off-network sitcoms and dramas such as Diff'rent Strokes, The Wonder Years, The Rockford Files, WKRP in Cincinnati, Newhart, Miami Vice and Taxi. It also became the first channel to air MADtv off-network. These moves went unnoticed for the most part, due to TNN's lack of popularity. By this time, all country-western programming had been purged from the network; some of The Nashville Network's former programming was picked up by CMT, while other classic TNN shows were picked up by GAC, including eventually the Grand Ole Opry, which was pushed off to CMT and eventually removed by Viacom after they did not renew the agreement to carry the series in an attempt to infuse a more youthful schedule on CMT.
As time went on, the words "The National Network" were downplayed in promotions. By late 2002, the channel was known simply as The New TNN and had picked up more male-oriented shows, such as Baywatch, Monster Jam, Bull Riding, Robot Wars and Star Trek: The Next Generation. This was done in an effort both to further distance itself from its former country music-based identity and to trumpet an increase in original programming. Television critics at the time noted disdainfully that "The New TNN", when written out, technically stood for "The New The National Network", a pleonasm. Also, after more than two years in a non-country format, the network's offerings had long ceased to be "new" in any meaningful sense.
Spike TV (2003–present) 
Spike Lee lawsuit 
The name change to "Spike TV" was supposed to be official on June 16, 2003. However, on June 13, film director Spike Lee won a New York Supreme Court injunction preventing the name change. Lee claimed that because of his well-known popularity in Hollywood, viewers would therefore assume that he was associated with the new channel. Lee stated in court papers that: "The media description of this change of name, as well as comments made to me and my wife, confirmed what was obvious—that Spike TV referred to Spike Lee."
The channel had planned an official launch of its new name at a star-studded, televised party at the Playboy Mansion in mid-June. But due to Lee's injunction, the special—titled Party With Spike—had to be heavily edited and the impact of the event was considerably muted. During the lawsuit, even the name "TNN" was significantly scaled back, as logos and voice-overs referred to the channel only as "The First Network for Men".
Spike Jones Jr., son of comic musician Spike Jones, became a party of the lawsuit as part of Viacom's defense to protect the rights to his father's name. The suit was settled on July 8, 2003, and TNN was allowed to call itself Spike TV. In announcing the settlement, Lee admitted that he did not believe that the channel intentionally tried to trade on his name.
The name change became official on August 11, 2003.
Spike programming 
The name change was slated to coincide with an adult-oriented change in programming including original animated series Stripperella and Gary the Rat. Popular reruns such as Baywatch, V.I.P. and The A-Team, original specials such as The 100 Most Irresistible Women and imported programming such as MXC.
Spike TV hired cartoonist John Kricfalusi and a new version of the classic animated hit The Ren & Stimpy Show returned with new episodes in a series known as Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon". After Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" was canceled, the channel started airing classic episodes that originally aired on Nickelodeon in the 1990s; it was named Ren & Stimpy: The Classics. It was TV-PG instead of TV-MA, though it aired late at night. The original Nickelodeon episodes aired on Spike also aired uncut.
The channel now airs a combination of original programming and reruns of network programming, including series from the CSI and Star Trek franchises, MXC, Game Head, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, and Ultimate Fighting Championship programming.
It has scored some major coups in terms of its programming, receiving syndication rights to several Star Trek series (which was produced by another Viacom branch, Paramount Pictures), as well as most of the James Bond series of movies. It is also the cable home to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and the cult TV favorite MXC, an overdubbed version of the Japanese series Takeshi's Castle.
In the fall of 2003, Spike TV aired The Joe Schmo Show, a parody of reality television shows like Survivor and Big Brother. Its finale led to the channel's highest ratings at the time, and a second season aired in the Summer of 2004. In November 2004, Spike TV purchased the cable/satellite syndication rights to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation for a record price of $1.9 million per episode. It joined the lineup on October 1, 2006. The promotion of the CSI franchises earned Spike the colloquial title "The CSI Channel" during this period because as much as one third (eight hours) of programming blocks were devoted to the franchise.
On November 18, 2004, they broadcasted reruns of the Nickelodeon TV series SpongeBob SquarePants at midnight, to promote The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie that came out the next day. They did this almost all night, as did another MTV Networks channel, VH1.
In September 2005, all WWE (formerly the WWF) programming on Spike TV left the channel as a result of acrimonious contractual matters between WWE and Viacom. WWE Raw moved back to its original cable home, NBCUniversal's USA Network while WWE Heat and WWE Velocity moved to WWE.com due to failure to gain a time slot for the shows in the United States.
On October 1, 2005, wrestling promotion Total Nonstop Action Wrestling began airing its weekly program Impact Wrestling in the Saturday night time slot formerly occupied by WWE Velocity. It moved to Thursdays in April 2006, and expanded to two hours in October 2007. In 2010, TNA made a new deal with Spike TV which would move Impact to Monday nights. The first episode aired on March 8, 2010, though Impact! was shifted back to Thursdays after reduced TNA audience on Mondays.
On January 18, 2005, Spike TV debuted The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), an original reality show based around the sport of mixed martial arts which proved to be a surprise hit. Spike later extended their UFC coverage with UFC Unleashed and UFC Primetime. On August 18, 2011, Spike officials made a statement regarding the end of their partnership with the UFC, “The Ultimate Fighter” season 14 in September will be our last....Our 6-year partnership with the UFC has been incredibly beneficial in building both our brands, and we wish them all the best in the future.”
In October 2005, Spike TV debuted Game Head with Geoff Keighley, a weekly video game show, and later followed up with Fresh Baked Videogames, making them both part of their "Slammin' Saturday Night" lineup. Spike is also home to the annual Spike Video Game Awards and the Spike Guys' Choice Awards.
Fresh Baked Video Games 
On January 14, 2006, Spike introduced the short lived video game review show Fresh Baked Videogames. Among the shows many comedy sketches, pranks and animations was its most popular segment "A Free Video Game for a Shot to The Nuts". In this segment male contestants volunteer to take a strike to their testicles for a free video game. The contestants are given options on how they will be struck, ranging from a sack of nickels, to a female soccer player. The most popular episode was episode four of season 1 which aired on January 28, 2006. On this episode Swedish actress Annika Svedman dressed as an NCAA cheerleader and was selected twice by contestants to be kicked in their testicles by her. This specific segment of Annika Svedman emerged in early 2007 on YouTube and has since become an Internet phenomenon which has helped propel Svedman's notoriety. The best known version of the clip (usually distributed as a Flash clip) shows a cheerleading outfit clad Svedman (complete with pom poms) moving her legs back and forth before delivering a debilitating kick. The original clip was made and distributed on YouTube from a thread of the original segment. The clip has been continuously removed from the website for copyright infringement, however, the clip continues to reemerge due to its cult-like popularity.
Star Trek 
Spike has devoted large chunks of its programming time to the Star Trek franchise, to varying degrees. It initially featured Star Trek: The Next Generation heavily before introducing Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in 2004 and Star Trek: Voyager in 2006. All of these introductions were accompanied by multi-day marathons at some point, the Next Generation one including appearances by celebrities such as Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher on The Next Generation. Deep Space Nine and Voyager had been relegated to late-night hours before their disappearances and The Next Generation had disappeared months before the syndication rights were bought by Syfy. The promotion of the Trek franchises earned Spike the colloquial title The Star Trek Channel during this period because as much as one third (eight hours) of programming blocks were devoted to the franchise.
A notable omission during the period was Star Trek: Enterprise, which the channel passed on (Syfy had proceeded to ease it into four-hour Monday night blocks). TV Land meanwhile had the rights to Star Trek: The Original Series, but Spike stated that there may not be sufficient episodes (only three seasons) to accommodate the kind of blocks it would like to air. Syfy and BBC America now have the rights to Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Get More Action 
After the Viacom/CBS Corporation split of 2005, Spike became a part of the "new" Viacom with its sibling channels in the MTV Networks family. In May 2006, the station was re-branded to accentuate its masculinity, including a new logo, dropping the second half of its channel name (TV) from the logo and adding the "Get More Action" tagline.
In June 2006, Spike debuted Blade: The Series, a TV series based on the Blade films. Rapper Sticky Fingaz played Blade in the series. David S. Goyer, writer of all three Blade films (and director of the third Blade film), wrote the pilot and served as executive producer on the series. It was canceled on September 28, 2006.
On September 5, 2006, the documentary film Metal of Honor: The Ironworkers of 9/11 by filmmaker Rachel Maguire, premiered on Spike. Metal of Honor is a documentary profiling the Ironworkers' efforts in the attempts for rescue and recovery on and after the September 11 attacks at the World Trade Center site. The film proceeds through the Ironworkers' dismantling of the fallen towers.
On October 10, 2006, Spike presented the Scream Awards, the first awards show honoring horror, science fiction, fantasy and comic books. At the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con International the Spike TV booth was awarding tickets to that year's presentation ceremony to the winners of their "Scariest Costume" contest.
In late 2006, Spike introduced the Late Night Strip consisting of original series that are sometimes inappropriate for daytime TV, with regular intermissions featuring women. The programming airs Thursdays and Fridays at 12:00 a.m., and includes MXC, Wild World of Spike, The Dudesons, and Game Head.
Throughout the summer of 2007, starting on Father's Day, the channel launched its first public service campaign, the "True Dads" national outreach campaign, with former New York Yankees player Don Mattingly spokesperson. This focused on fathers who demonstrated active roles in their children's lives, through public service announcements on the channel featuring both celebrity and ordinary fathers and websites such as Spike's own "True Dads" site, among other things.
In April 2008, Spike aired the commercial TV premiere of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and became the first basic-cable channel in the U.S. to air all six Star Wars movies. Viacom bid against NBCUniversal and Turner Broadcasting for this opportunity, which is worth up to $80 million, despite each of those channel systems having previously aired at least part of the original trilogy. The same year, the channel began to broadcast a reality show based on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). On the weekend of April 5 and 6, 2008, the channel aired the first three Star Wars films against the simultaneous TNT broadcast of all three Lord of the Rings films. More viewers watched the Star Wars broadcasts on Spike than watched the Lord of the Rings broadcasts on TNT. On April 7, 2008 the channel acquired cable syndication rights for the sitcom Married... with Children. Five new unscripted series were picked up for the channel's summer 2008 lineup.
Though the programming is still aimed at the male demographic (age 18–49), Spike no longer makes the claim to be "the first network for men". Presumable motivations for this include acknowledging earlier attempts at "male-only" television (such as mentv in Canada), and the risk of losing access to its Canadian audiences due to a claim of "duplication" (in terms of programming and target audience) contrary to Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission regulations. Due to licensing restrictions and programming rights issues, Canadian viewers of Spike see alternate programming whenever Spike airs certain films such as the James Bond film series, or other certain series programs.
On June 1, 2010, Spike launched into the first crowd-sourced pilot episode contest with Scripped, a web-based screenwriting community. In this contest, Spike tested its ability to discover new talent from untested channels.
Alternate History 
On August 24, 2011, at 7 pm Pacific Time, Spike launched a new series called Alternate History, illustrating what the world could be like if past events were slightly different. The premiere episode documented what would have happened if the Germans stopped the Allied invasion of France and took over the world. No other episodes have been featured.
2011 rebrand 
On October 15, 2005, Viacom acquired ifilm.com, which was initially launched in 1997. After acquiring the website for $49 million, it was eventually re-branded to Spike.com and provided hosting of user-uploaded videos.
YouTube was also launched in 2005, which later suffered a class action lawsuit reported to be over $1 billion. Spike.com's managing division claims that they only host videos they approve after they are submitted.
Rugby League 
In the fall of 2009, Spike showed live Australian rugby league semi finals games from the National Rugby League and also showed the grand final, as David Niu tried to bring professional rugby league (National Rugby League USA) to the United States.
- 'Unsolved Mysteries' Gets a New Look on Spike TV, Spike TV Press Release, April 7, 2008
- Cover Story: Breathing New Life Into Oxygen
- John Dempsey (October 10, 2007). "New Prexy For Spike TV". Daily Variety. p. 4.
- TV Week: Kay Promoted
- Good bye Nashville Network, Country Standard Time, November 2000
- Stengel, Richard (March 21, 1987). "Country Comes to Cable". Time
- The Nashville Network Begins With Optimism, New York Times, March 11, 1987
- Banks, Jack (1996). Monopoly Television: MTV's Quest to Control the Music. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. p. 59. ISBN 0-8133-1821-1.
- 41st Annual CMA Awards | 2007 Hall of Fame Inductees
- Good bye Nashville Network, Country Standard Time, November 2000
- Downey, Kevin (April 9, 2001). "The new TNN: T&A, trekking and sleuths". Media Life Magazine. Retrieved August 31, 2007.
- Diff'rent Strokes: Broadcast stations
- TNN Shooting for Lineup that's 50% More Original. Broadcasting & Cable: January 22, 2001
- The new TNN: T&A, trekking and sleuths, Media Life Magazine, April 1, 2001
- Romano, Allison (April 21, 2003). "TNN Hopes Mainly Men Will Watch "Spike TV"s". Retrieved August 31, 2007.
- Breaking... – 6/16/2003 – Broadcasting & Cable
- "Spike sues over channel name". BBC News. June 4, 2003. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- Romano, Allison (June 30, 2003). "Another Spike Stakes His Case". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved August 31, 2007.
- Romano, Allison (July 9, 2003). "TNN, Lee resolve Spike fight". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved August 31, 2007.
- Romano, Allison (July 28, 2003). "Spike to Start, Finally, Aug. 11". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved August 31, 2007.
- "TNA Wrestling Moves To Monday Nights Starting March 8, 2010". Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. February 16, 2010. Retrieved February 26, 2010.[dead link]
- "Spike TV Announces Partnership with the UFC Has Ended, TUF 14 Will Be the Last on the". MMAWeekly.com]. August 18, 2011. Retrieved August 18, 2011.
- "Fresh Baked Video Games" (2006) – Episode list
- Shot To The Nuts – Fresh Baked VG – Viral – SPIKE
- Annika Svedman
- MySpaceTV Videos: kick nuts by antonio
- "Ghost Whisperer", "Star Trek: TNG" to Haunt Sci-Fi Channel, Zap2It.com, May 5, 2008
- "Spike TV Launches Rebranding Campaign" (Press release). PR Newswire. March 22, 2006. Retrieved August 31, 2007.
- Heffernan, Virginia. Metal of Honor: Building on Ground Zero. The New York Times: September 5, 2006.
- Weprin, Alex. Spike TV Orders DEA Reality Show. Broadcasting & Cable: January 10, 2008
- Ryan, Joal (April 8, 2008). "Star Wars vs. LOTR: And the Winner Is...". E! Online News. Retrieved April 8, 2008.
- Weprin, Alex (April 7, 2008). "Spike TV Acquires Married...With Children". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved April 8, 2008.
- Weprin, Alex (May 8, 2008). "Spike TV Picks Up Five Unscripted Series". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved May 8, 2008.
- Time Warner Cable Media Sales :: Target Demographics
- "Scripped.com Announces Script Competition With Spike TV". Marketwire. June 1, 2010. Retrieved June 21, 2010.
- Bangeman, Eric. "Infringing videos on iFilm could cause problems for Viacom" Ars Technica. March 19, 2007
- New league hopes to popularize rugby in U.S.