Spike lives, at least Stateside


NEW YORK - Movie director Spike Lee and Viacom settled a dispute yesterday that clears the way for the media giant to finally go ahead with re-branding TNN as Spike TV.

Lee obtained a temporary injunction last month preventing the name change, saying the new name infringes on his own and that he didn't want to be associated with the lowbrow programming now featured by the channel.

So Spike TV - the "first television network for men" as it now bills itself - will take the place of TNN, which long since dumped its line-dancing, country-music The Nashville Network roots in order to feature shows like Blind Date, Real TV, SlamBall, the Pamela Anderson cartoon, Stripperella, as well as Baywatch, A-Team and American Gladiators reruns.

The judge in Lee's case initially ordered the filmmaker to post a US$500,000 bond last month after the temporary injunction against Viacom was issued. That bond was then raised to $2.5 million later with a July 7th deadline to post it.

It wasn't posted and the judge ended the injunction yesterday when both sides reached a deal, whose terms were not disclosed. According to reports, Lee is busy shooting a movie for Showtime - a Viacom cable channel.

However, Spike TV still must face the wrath of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, since, as reported by, the association wants the CRTC to remove it from the eligible satellite list.

In a letter to the Commission, the CAB contends that since it has altered its programming so much, the channel now infringes on the genre protection extended to Canadian specialty services.

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