Spike TV President Albie Hecht announced Tuesday afternoon that the cable channel would begin using its new name and logo at 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 11. It's being billed as the first network aimed at exclusively at men.
Aug. 11 is Spike TV Day. Men all across this great land should feel empowered to leave the toilet seat up," Hecht said.
The Viacom-owned unit of MTV Networks has taken a long, strange trip to the launch date. The name change and refocus was unveiled to great fanfare in April, and Spike TV took center stage with a star-studded presentation during the MTV Networks' upfront in May at Madison Square Garden in New York. A new slate of male-themed programming was announced, including a Thursday night block of adult animated programming and a renewed focus on women, extreme sports and action-oriented movies and shows. The channel is available in 86 million homes.
But the June launch was thwarted by a lawsuit by filmmaker Spike Lee, who claimed his reputation was being hijacked by the channel. He didn't want to be associated with the range of programming that would be offered by the channel. Lee was granted an injunction that kept Viacom from changing TNN's name until a trial in mid-August. That didn't stop Viacom from rebranding the channel, which it did as both The New TNN and no channel name in particular. But two weeks ago, Lee and Viacom settled out of court and a judge lifted the injuction. All that remained was for Viacom to set another launch date, which it did Tuesday afternoon.
The Aug. 11 launch date will feature a one-hour special Road to SlamBall, a behind-the-scenes look at one of the channel's extreme sports programming. There will be a special edition of Spike TV's Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, which will feature an all-Spike lineup. And there will be a one-hour special filmed in June at the Playboy Mansion where Spike TV was unofficially launched. That special is hosted by rapper Busta' Rhymes and also includes Pam Anderson and Kelsey Grammer, who both star in separate animated series on Thursday nights, and Carmen Electra, Fred Durst and Kid Rock. Even WWE Raw, a holdover from the TNN days, will include a special something about Spike TV.
"Beginning today and continuing for the remainder of men's lives, we will be building our home base with new programming and specials that speak to a wide range of men's interests," Hecht said.
Two new daily features will also kick off Aug. 11. CBS MarketWatch, another Viacom partner, will contribute two updates daily on world markets and the economy. Another one-minute feature will report daily on the automotive industry.
Other programming planned for August include Ride with Funkmaster Flex, which will premiere Aug. 16; Go Inside: Animal House (a documentary on the 25th anniversary of the classic movie starring John Belushi) on Aug. 24th and new seasons of SlamBall and Most Extreme Elimination Challenge.