The channel was originally founded by a partnership between WSM, Inc. and Group W as The Nashville Network (TNN) and began broadcasting March 7, 1983. It initially featured programming catering towards the culture of the Southern United States, including country music, variety shows, outdoors programming, and motor racing coverage (such as NASCAR). TNN was purchased by the Gaylord Entertainment Company in 1983. After Gaylord bought CMT in 1991, TNN's music programming was shifted to CMT, leaving TNN to focus on entertainment and lifestyle programming. In 1995, TNN and CMT were acquired by Westinghouse/CBS, which was in turn acquired by Viacom in 1999.
Under Viacom ownership, TNN began phasing out its existing programming in favor of more off-network series, films, and sports entertainment programming. It was renamed The National Network in September 2000, coinciding with the premiere of WWF Raw on the channel. At this point, Viacom described TNN as being a general entertainment service, albeit one appealing to Middle America. In August 2003, TNN relaunched as Spike TV, which targeted a young adult male audience. In June 2006, Spike re-branded with a more explicit focus on the action genre. In 2010, Spike re-branded with a wider demographic reach and an increased focus on reality series. In 2015, the network re-branded again to emphasize gender-balanced series such as Lip Sync Battle and a return to original scripted programming.
On January 18, 2018, Spike re-branded as Paramount Network, aiming to align it with the Paramount Pictures film studio (which previously lent its name to the now-defunct broadcast television network UPN). The network has been positioned by Viacom as a general "flagship" outlet for original scripted series, competing with other "premium" basic cable networks such as AMC and FX. As of February 2015 (when it was still known as Spike), approximately 93.4 million households in the United States (80% of those with television) receive Paramount Network.
The Nashville Network first launched on March 7, 1983; it was dedicated to the culture and lifestyle of country music and the U.S. South. It originally operated as a joint venture of WSM, Inc., a subsidiary of National Life and Accident Insurance Company) and Group W Satellite Communications. TNN operated 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 the "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 to 1992, all of TNN's auto racing and motor sports coverage was produced by Diamond P Sports. Starting in 1993, TNN started having its 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 had recently acquired CBS around that time; 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 TNN. Ownership shifted to Viacom in the late 1990s after its acquisition of CBS Corporation, Westinghouse's successor.
In 1999, TNN began to change its programming to appeal to a wider demographic; capitalizing on the success of RollerJam, a roller derby-inspired series that had attracted a large number of younger viewers, TNN reached a three-year deal to broadcast a new Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) program, which would air as a companion to RollerJam on Friday nights beginning in late-August 1999. Under the contract, ECW also agreed to revenue sharing with TNN for all of the promotion's events (including live shows and pay-per-views) and merchandising. TNN combined these two programs into a Friday-night programming block, which also featured Motor Madness and Championship Bull Riding; a TNN executive acknowledged that "extreme sports" programming had become a major draw to the network, and that bull riding appealed to this expanded audience because he saw it as "the original extreme sport".
In November 1999, TNN announced new programming and primetime theme blocks it planned to introduce in 2000, including a new, female-oriented Movie Monday, Action Wednesday, Friday Night Thrill Zone, Classic Country on Saturday nights, and TNN Outdoors on Sundays. The new schedule, along with new series such as the action drama 18 Wheels of Justice, collegiate bowling competition series Rockin' Bowl, reruns of the Western anthology Dead Man's Gun, and a new promotional campaign targeting younger viewers, were intended to introduce a broader audience to the network. The ECW partnership was initially successful, with TNN reporting a 200% increase in young male viewership in the timeslot. Despite this, TNN gave ECW little promotion, choosing to focus more on promoting its other new programs, such as Rockin' Bowl and RollerJam.
On September 25, 2000, TNN was folded into the MTV Networks division based in New York City, and was renamed The National Network. The rebranding coincided with major changes to the network's programming, including the network premiere of the World Wrestling Federation's flagship program RAW Is War, which moved to TNN from USA Network as part of a new contract with Viacom. As WWF programs were typically among USA Network's highest-rated programs, the move was considered a major coup for TNN. MTV Networks chairman Tom Freston described TNN as now being a general entertainment service, albeit one with a "sort of populist middle-America flavor" rather than "another network for New York or Los Angeles."
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 (along with NBC and UPN). 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, Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, Miami Vice and Taxi. It also became the first channel to air reruns of MADtv. 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 .
As time went on, the words "The National Network" were downplayed in promotions. By late 2002, the channel was known 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.
In April 2003, Viacom announced that TNN would be relaunched as Spike TV on June 16, 2003. Promoted with the slogan "The First Network for Men", Viacom aimed to target a young adult male demographic between the ages of 18-34—which they believed was being served insufficiently by other cable networks, and to further distance the network from the TNN name in order to suit its current programming direction. Spike's launch programming would include a slate of new adult animation series such as Gary the Rat, Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" (an adult-oriented revival of the former Nickelodeon series The Ren & Stimpy Show, led by its original creator John Kricfalusi), and Stripperella, as well as other new series such as Ride with Funkmaster Flex. Also planned were segments in collaboration with Men's Health, Stuff, and CBS Marketwatch. Recent acquisitions, such as CSI, WWF Raw, and Star Trek, would also remain part of the network's schedule.
Three days before the planned launch date, film director Spike Lee won a New York Supreme Court injunction preventing Viacom from using the name "Spike TV". 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." 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; in announcing the settlement, Lee admitted that he did not believe that the channel intentionally tried to trade on his name. On July 28, 2003, it was announced that TNN would rebrand as Spike TV on August 11, 2003 — eight weeks later than initially scheduled. Its launch night programming featured two programs originally intended to air on June 16, including Party with Spike—a launch special filmed at the Playboy Mansion, and the premiere of Most Extreme Elimination Challenge—a comedic dub of the Japanese game show Takeshi's Castle.
Alongside its launch programs, Spike scored some major coups in terms of its programming, receiving syndication rights to several Star Trek series (which were produced by another Viacom branch, Paramount Television), as well as most of the James Bond series of movies. After Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" was canceled, the channel started airing classic episodes of the original Ren & Stimpy series under the title Ren & Stimpy: The Classics. The Klasky Csupo production Immigrants was originally slated to run on Spike TV's animation block, but this never materialized and the series was turned into a film instead. Also unaired was the John Leguizamo animated production Zilch & Zero.
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. 2003 also saw the debut of the Video Game Awards, which would go on to become notorious for favoring the channel's own demographic at the expense of the larger gaming community. 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.
On January 18, 2005, Spike TV premiered The Ultimate Fighter, a reality competition series focusing on the Ultimate Fighting Championship—a mixed martial arts promotion. The success of The Ultimate Fighter led the UFC to expand its programming on Spike to include other series, such as UFC Unleashed, UFC Primetime and UFC All Access. The Ultimate Fighter aired on Spike for 14 seasons, but ended its run on the network in 2011 with the announcement that Fox Sports had acquired the U.S. television rights to the UFC under a new, seven-year deal.
In September 2005, all WWE (formerly the WWF) programming on Spike TV left the channel as a result of acrimonious contractual matters between the WWE and Viacom. WWE Raw moved back to its original cable home, NBC Universal's USA Network, while WWE Heat and WWE Velocity moved to WWE.com after the organization failed to secure a new television home for the shows in the United States.
On October 1, 2005, wrestling promotion Total Nonstop Action Wrestling began airing its weekly program TNA Impact! 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 starting on March 8, 2010, though Impact! was shifted back to Thursdays after the program suffered from decreased viewership in its Monday timeslot. Later in the month, Spike TV debuted Game Head with Geoff Keighley, a weekly video game show, and later followed up with the short-lived Fresh Baked Videogames, making them both part of their "Slammin' Saturday Night" lineup.
Spike had devoted large chunks of its programming time to the Star Trek franchise in the past before the Viacom/CBS Corporation split left the majority of the Star Trek intellectual property to CBS as a part of the former Paramount Television division and they decided to exercise licensing options away from their former Viacom brethren. It 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 marathon included appearances by celebrities such as Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher in the series. Deep Space Nine and Voyager had been relegated to late night hours before they disappeared from the channel's schedule, 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 enough episodes (only three seasons) to accommodate the kind of blocks it would like to air. Spike later replaced that block with re-runs of Disorderly Conduct: Video on Patrol and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
In 2005, Viacom conducted research which found that Spike TV's new direction was alienating its target audience and advertisers. Word-of-mouth knowledge narrowly perceived Spike TV's programming as being predominantly "low-brow", violent, and reliant on sex appeal, rather than reflecting the wider variety of programming offered by the channel. These findings led Viacom to pursue rebranding Spike in an effort to clarify its focus. At its upfront presentations in 2006, the network unveiled a new logo as simply Spike, and the new slogan "Get More Action". The new branding launched alongside the premiere of Blade: The Series in June 2006. The goals of the new branding were to make Spike "authentic" and "unapologetically" masculine, while also emphasizing action as a core genre of programming for the network. Spike also attracted advertisers with product placement opportunities in promos such as "Men of Action" (which featured homages and parodies of "classic action moments") and the "CSI Guys", which tied into its new programming direction.
On September 5, 2006, Spike premiered the documentary film Metal of Honor: The Ironworkers of 9/11 by filmmaker Rachel Maguire, which profiled the ironworkers' efforts in the attempts for rescue and recovery following 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 debuted 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 awards ceremony to the winners of their "Scariest Costume" contest. In late 2006, Spike introduced the "Late Night Strip", a block that aired Thursdays and Fridays at 12:00 a.m. consisting of original series that are sometimes inappropriate for daytime television, with regular intermissions featuring women. Programming featured on the block included MXC, Wild World of Spike, The Dudesons and Game Head.
In October 2007, Kevin Kay was appointed network president after serving as executive vice president and general manager of the channel for the previous two years. The post had been vacant since December 2006. Throughout the summer of 2007, starting on Father's Day (June 17), the channel launched its first public service campaign, the "True Dads" national outreach campaign, with former New York Yankees player Don Mattingly as 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 television 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 NBC Universal and Turner for the rights to the entire Star Wars film series, which was worth up to $80 million, despite channels owned by each of the companies 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 (the series would be shuffled between various Viacom-owned networks in subsequent years, from Comedy Central to TV Land to Nick at Nite). Five new unscripted series were picked up for the channel's summer 2008 lineup.
In the fall of 2009, Spike broadcast live Australian rugby league semifinal 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. 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.
On March 30, 2011, with the series premiere of Coal (a new series from 1000 Ways to Die creator Thom Beers), Spike rebranded itself with a slightly recolored logo and a new slogan, "Get Real", emphasizing a major shift in its original programming from a mix of low-brow scripted and unscripted series aimed at young males towards reality series aimed at the broader 18–49 demographic. On August 24, 2011, 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.
In 2013, Bellator MMA made its network debut with the premiere of its eighth season; the now Viacom-owned mixed martial arts promotion's events previously aired on sibling channel MTV2. Later that year, Spike was named the official broadcaster for the Electronic Entertainment Expo. The previous year, Spike had shared coverage with G4. In response to their growing audience, Spike underwent a brand refresh, giving the channel a "more cinematic" look. Spike Art Director Michael Sutton-Long, who led the rebrand, says the refresh "lets people know that Spike is a classy, entertainment-driven network. It’s not a full-on rebrand, but it moves the network in the direction of becoming bigger and broader and more cinematic.”
At the end of the summer, Spike debuted the 26th season of Cops, having picked up the series from Fox. In the fall, kickboxing promotion Glory made its network debut with Glory 11: Chicago. This was not Spike's first time broadcasting a kickboxing event as, in 2012, they partnered with K-1 to broadcast several events on their website. The end of the year saw the Video Game Awards revamped and become known as VGX. The event was held on December 7, 2013 on Spike's website.
In 2014, TMZ reported that Spike would not renew TNA's contract. Months after a move to Wednesday nights, it was later announced that Impact Wrestling would end its run on December 24, 2014 and move to Destination America in 2015. Later that year, it was announced that Spike would drop their video game award show. Geoff Keighley would go on to create his own award show in the form of The Game Awards. In January 2015, following a similar deal made by NBC, Spike announced they would air monthly fight cards by the Haymon Boxing-created "Premier Boxing Champions".
During its upfronts on March 3, 2015, Spike unveiled a new logo and tagline, "The Ones to Watch". The re-branding aimed to make the network more inclusive to women, emphasizing a focus on "big talent, engaging shows and hits that get people talking" and further expansions into scripted series. Alongside the miniseries Tut and the announcement of an expanded episode order for the series Lip Sync Battle (a spin-off of a segment from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon), the network announced an output deal with Dwayne Johnson's $7 Bucks Productions for a series of specials, Emergency Broadcast, an original drama co-created by Max Brooks, and Sweat Inc., a fitness-oriented reality series hosted by Jillian Michaels.
With 2.2 million viewers, the series premiere of Lip Sync Battle on April 2, 2015 was the highest-rated non-scripted premiere in network history. Likewise, Tut averaged 2.2 million viewers in its three nights, for a combined 11.4 million viewers.
On February 9, 2017, Viacom announced that Spike would be re-branded as Paramount Network in 2018. This change is designed to give the network a closer association with the Paramount Pictures film studio, and is part of a restructuring plan by new Viacom CEO Bob Bakish to refocus the majority of its media business around six flagship brands, which includes Paramount, as well as BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., and MTV. The rebranding occurred on January 18, 2018, and was marked by a live, Michael Jackson-themed Lip Sync Battle special from the Dolby Theatre. New original series announced for the first half of 2018 included the miniseries Waco, Yellowstone, along with American Woman and Heathers—two comedies originally slated for TV Land. The Shannara Chronicles, which moved to Spike for season 2 from MTV, was not renewed by Paramount Network.
Paramount Network is being positioned as a "premium" basic cable network, similar to competitors such as AMC and FX. Network president Kevin Kay explained that Bakish wanted Viacom to have a "flagship" outlet for scripted programming, as opposed to making inefficient investments into them across individual channels. He added that Paramount Network's offerings would be distinguished from other "premium" basic cable networks by continuing to emphasize Middle America as a key viewer base. Even with its subsequent rebrandings, Paramount Network still had significant carriage strength and viewership in the Midwest and South due to its heritage as TNN. Kay argued that its initial slate of original dramas were not as "dark", citing the setting of Yellowstone as making it "brighter and a bit more blue sky than some of the things that are on premium cable TV now." In regards to the programs moved to Paramount Network from TV Land, American Woman was moved to take advantage of its prominent leads Alicia Silverstone and Mena Suvari, while Heathers was moved because, in Kay's opinion, the show was not appropriate for TV Land's target audience.
Paramount Network began a viral marketing campaign to promote its launch in December 2017. The campaign included a Times Square advertisement asking viewers to phone and email Paramount Network's chief marketing officer Niels Schuurmans to protest Spike's "firing", as well as a string of self-deprecating posts by the network's Twitter account about its history and programming (including that "My favorite number is 329 because it's the number of times Cops is on every night", "We had a show called The Joe Schmo Show. Apparently every decent show name was taken", and that "There's a reason all our early shows were CSI, UFC, TNA, MXC, UTI. No one around here knew how to read"). A network executive stated that the campaign was meant to represent a "public meltdown" by a fired employee. Spike additionally held a Facebook live streaming event on January 17, 2018 where users could vote on various ways a crew would deface a large model of the former Spike logo (culminating with its demolition).
Paramount Network's current lineup consists of original series, feature films, and reruns of sitcoms like Friends and Two and a Half Men. Male-oriented programs constituted the majority of its schedule upon its original re-launch in 2003 but, since 2011, the network had shifted towards reality series, such as Bar Rescue and Ink Master, and with its 2015 rebrand, Spike had been airing more "gender-balanced" programming.
The network also airs combat sporting events, including the Viacom-owned mixed martial arts promotion Bellator. In the past, the network also carried Glory kickboxing, professional wrestling programs from TNA, WWE, and ECW, as well as boxing from Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions.
On October 15, 2005, Viacom acquired iFilm, which was initially launched in 1997. After acquiring the website for $49 million, it was eventually rebranded to Spike.com and provided hosting of user-uploaded videos, a strategy eventually abandoned to refocus the Spike.com as a general network site. The iFilm.com domain currently redirects to the Screen Junkies website.
YouTube was also launched in 2005, which later was issued a class action lawsuit from Viacom reported to be over $1 billion (it was settled in 2014 for undisclosed terms). During the era where they hosted user generated content, Spike.com's managers only approved videos pre-screened to meet their standards. On January 18, 2018, Spike.com was sunset to redirect viewers to the rebrand of the channel, Paramount Network.com.
Viacom began to launch localized versions of Spike in 2015. It is currently unknown if the Paramount Network branding will be used internationally in the future.
In April 1984, while as TNN, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved the channel for carriage by Canadian cable and satellite television providers. Following its re-branding as Spike TV, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters filed a complaint with the CRTC on behalf of Canwest Global, demanding the channel be removed from Canadian television providers. The CAB felt that its new general entertainment format would directly compete with various Canadian-run specialty channels, arguing that there was overlap in its niche and its then-current schedule with Men TV, Space (Star Trek), sports channels (The Score broadcasts WWE programming), Discovery Health (interstitial segments focusing on men's health, although the network did not air any full-length programs on the topic), along with the inexplicable naming of Report on Business Television and CTV Travel for reasons unknown.
In January 2005, the CRTC ruled that Spike could remain available in Canada. The commission felt that the CAB provided insufficient evidence that Spike was directly competing with these channels, as the genres in which there were overlap with Canadian services represented a minority of the network's overall schedule that would not impede domestic networks. The CRTC also argued that Men TV and Spike had dissimilar natures of service, with Men TV having a specific focus on lifestyle programming oriented towards men, and Spike being a general entertainment channel targeting a male audience.
Due to programming rights issues, programs which the channel does not hold rights to air outside of the U.S. are replaced with alternate programs.
On April 15, 2015, a British version of Spike was launched; owned by Viacom International Media Networks Europe, it is operated as a sister digital terrestrial television channel to Channel 5, which Viacom had acquired the previous year. Its launch lineup primarily featured Spike's original programs and reruns from its parent network, acquired U.S. drama imports (such as Breaking Bad, Justified, and The Walking Dead), along with Bellator MMA and the domestic MMA promotion BAMMA.
On August 18, 2015, Viacom announced that a Dutch version of Spike would launch in the Netherlands and Flanders. The channel began as a timeshare on the Dutch Nickelodeon channel, airing from 9:00 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. daily. On December 12, 2016, Spike launched in the Netherlands as a 24-hour channel on Ziggo. Spike and Nickelodeon will continue time-sharing on other platforms and in Flanders.
In July 2016, an Australian version of Spike launched on Fetch TV. On December 1, 2016, a Hungarian version of the channel named RTL Spike was launched in partnership with RTL Group. On October 22, 2017, an Italian version of Spike was launched in the country as a free-to-air channel, replacing Fine Living on Digital TV channel 49.