SPIKE (formerly known as SPIKE TV) is an American cable and satellite
channel launched on March 7, 1983, owned by
Viacom through Viacom
Media Networks and based in Los Angeles,
California . Spike is a
general entertainment channel featuring a mix of various programs and
movies, primarily oriented towards a male adult audience.
Spike's programming reaches approximately 98.7 million pay television
subscribers in the United States as well as
Canada . As of 2006,
Spike's viewers were 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.
As of February 2015, approximately 93.4 million households in the
U.S. (80% of those with television) receive Spike.
On February 8, 2017,
Viacom announced that Spike will be rebranded as
the PARAMOUNT NETWORK sometime in early 2018.
* 1 Eras
The Nashville Network
The Nashville Network era (1983–2000)
* 1.2 The National Network, the New TNN and the
WWE era (2000–03)
* 1.3 Spike TV era (2003–18)
Spike Lee lawsuit
* 1.3.2 Spike programming, 2003–06
* 1.3.3 "Get More Action"
* 1.3.4 "Get Real"
* 1.3.5 "The Ones to Watch"
* 1.4 The Paramount Network era (2018)
* 2 Programming
* 3 Website
* 4 International availability
* 4.1 Australia
* 4.3 The Netherlands all centered in some way around country music
or the country style of living.
Some of TNN's popular on-air talent included local
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
Westinghouse Electric Corporation , which had
CBS around that time; two years later, Westinghouse
bought CMT, TNN's chief competitor. In 1998, the channel dropped its
Nashville Network" moniker and shortened its official name to
TNN. Ownership shifted to
Viacom in the late 1990s after its
CBS Corporation, Westinghouse's successor. TNN
subsequently relocated its headquarters to
New York City
New York City from
Nashville and was folded into Viacom's
MTV Networks division.
THE NATIONAL NETWORK, THE NEW TNN AND THE
WWE ERA (2000–03)
On September 25, 2000, Viacom, sensing redundancy among TNN and CMT
when it merged them into its
MTV Networks unit, 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
programming, including its flagship show RAW Is War . This was likely
an attempt to compete with Universal's
USA Network which Viacom
(through Paramount) had briefly owned a stake in during the mid-1990s.
During this time, the channel began placing a black bar at the bottom
of the screen that was used to identify the program currently airing
and to promote upcoming programs on the channel; this bar was
eventually dropped by the fall of 2002.
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
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
The game coverage moved to
ESPN in 2002 .
In 2001, TNN added off-network sitcoms and dramas such as Diff\'rent
The Wonder Years ,
The Rockford Files , WKRP in
Newhart , Hangin\' With Mr. Cooper ,
Miami Vice and
Taxi . It also became the first channel to air reruns of
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
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 as THE NEW TNN and had
picked up more male-oriented shows, such as
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, 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 ERA (2003–18)
In August 2003, The New TNN was rebranded as Spike TV, marketed as
the first television channel for men. In early 2006, Spike removed the
word "TV" from its name, referring to itself as Spike.
Spike Lee Lawsuit
The name change to "Spike TV" was supposed to be official on June 16,
2003. However, three days earlier on June 13, film director Spike Lee
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, exactly eight weeks later than initially scheduled.
Spike Programming, 2003–06
The name change was slated to coincide with an adult-oriented change
in programming including original animated series
Stripperella , This
Just In! , and
Gary the Rat , popular reruns such as Baywatch, V.I.P.
The A-Team , original specials such as The 100 Most Irresistible
Women, and imported programming such as
MXC . Spike TV hired
John Kricfalusi , and a new version of the classic animated
The Ren & Stimpy Show
The Ren & Stimpy Show returned with new episodes in a series known
Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon"
Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" . After Ren it was named Ren &
Stimpy: The Classics. These episodes were rated TV-PG instead of TV-MA
, though it aired late at night. The original
aired on Spike also aired uncut. 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
the Next Generation marathon included appearances by celebrities such
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
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
"Get More Action"
CBS Corporation split of November 2005, Spike
became a part of the "new"
Viacom with its sibling channels in the MTV
Networks family. In May 2006, the channel was rebranded 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"
In June 2006, Spike debuted Blade: The Series , a series starring
Sticky Fingaz that was based on the
Blade films. 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 four months later on September 28, 2006.
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
September 11 attacks at the World Trade Center
site . The film proceeds through the ironworkers' dismantling of the
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
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
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.
NBCUniversal and the
Turner Broadcasting System 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
On March 30, 2011, with the series premiere of Coal (a new series
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.
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 . Last year, Spike 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 first event under the new format 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 ".
"The Ones To Watch"
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.
THE PARAMOUNT NETWORK ERA (2018)
On February 9, 2017,
Viacom announced that Spike would take on the
new branding of the PARAMOUNT NETWORK in early 2018, as the company
switches to a focus on six prime networks with most of the company's
backing and resources. The first on-air reference to the upcoming
change was the One Night Only comedy roast honoring
Alec Baldwin ,
which was prefixed with "Paramount Network Presents" rather than Spike
presenting it, and premiered on July 9, 2017.
List of programs broadcast by Spike
Much of Spike's lineup consists of entertainment programming oriented
towards the demographic of males aged 18 to 49, including original
series and occasional broadcasts of feature films. Such male-oriented
programs constituted the majority of its schedule upon its original
re-launch as Spike but, since 2011, the network had shifted towards
reality series, such as
Bar Rescue and
Ink Master . With its 2015
rebrand, the network will aim to air more "gender-balanced"
programming, along with more scripted series.
Spike also airs combat sporting events, including Bellator mixed
martial arts , kickboxing , and
Premier Boxing Champions ; as of 2016,
these events are broadcast under the Spike Sports banner. In the past,
the network also carried professional wrestling programs from TNA and
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 suffered a class
action lawsuit from
Viacom reported to be over $1 billion. During the
era where they hosted user generated content, Spike.com's managers
only approved videos pre-screened to meet their standards.
Spike (Australian TV channel)
In July 2016, an Australian version of Spike launched on
Fetch TV .
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) as well as
Report on Business Television
Report on Business Television and
CTV Travel .
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 formats, 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, certain programs (particularly
films which the channel does not have the rights to air outside of the
U.S.) are removed from the Spike feed distributed in Canada, and
replaced by older reruns of its original programming.
THE NETHERLANDS & FLANDERS
Main article: Spike (Netherlands owned by
Viacom International Media
Networks Europe , it is operated under the auspices of Channel 5 ,
Viacom had acquired the previous year. Its launch lineup
primarily features 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
On December 1, 2016, a Hungarian version of the channel named RTL
Spike was launched in partnership with RTL Group.
* Television in the United States portal
Spike (Australian TV channel)
* Spike (Netherlands -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em;
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