Creator / Spike TV

Spike (formerly and commonly Spike TV) is a Viacom-owned network that was dedicated to every single male interest possible, as you might've been able to tell by its edgy name. It was basically the Rated M for Manly Network, though some may say they lampshaded this often enough to venture into Testosterone Poisoning and invariably into Unfortunate Implications.

Originally, it was known as TNN or The Nashville Network, a country music channel launched two days after rival CMT. TNN was originally owned by Gaylord Entertainment, alongside Westinghouse Broadcasting (an arm of Westinghouse Electric Company). Westinghouse, after becoming CBS Corporation, purchased all of TNN (and CMT, which Gaylord bought in 1991) in 1997. While it focused mainly on music videos, TNN included original programming such as the game show Top Card, NASCAR races, and outdoor, lifestyle and talk shows targeted to a country audience.

Viacom bought CBS in 2000, and merged TNN and CMT into MTV Networks. In order to avoid redundancy, TNN was retooled into The National Network, or The New TNN, which tried to go beyond the Southern demographic, and was Viacom's attempt at a "general entertainment" channel- in essence trying to clone the USA Network, which they were once a part-owner of via Paramount. Its most successful original program was WWE Raw (whose move to the network basically killed ECW, who had a show on the network which had to be canceled). While that still sounds like a part of the original demographic, The National Network also featured reruns of shows such as Baywatch, Diff'rent Strokes, Mad TV, Miami Vice, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Three's Company.

In 2003, the network title was completely changed to Spike TV, they would drop "TV" from their name three years later. The name change was delayed a little from a lawsuit by director Spike Lee, who claimed that viewers would associate the network with him. Unsurprisingly, the Spike network won the case. It did set up an awkward situation where a party at the Playboy Mansion celebrating the new network had to have censor bars and bleeping all over the place to remove all mentions of "Spike" until they got their issues ironed out with Mr. Lee. Raw stuck around for a while but went back to its original home on the USA Network due to problems between WWE and Viacom, causing Spike to fill the Professional Wrestling void with the competition... and CSI and Star Trek reruns.

The channel eventually started to be taken more seriously when, in 2008, they won exclusive broadcast rights to all six Star Wars movies, which they proceeded to milk with for years, running marathons during anniversary celebrations or holiday weekends note . Beginning in 2011, Spike would begin shifting focus away from "low-brow" programming in favor of unscripted series aimed at a more general audience. They would also expand their combat sport coverage to include promotions like Bellator MMA (formally Bellator Fighting Championships), which Viacom purchased in 2011 note , GLORY Kickboxing, and the Haymon Boxing-organized Premier Boxing Champions.

In 2015, with Impact Wrestling ending its run on the network, thanks to an executive fallout between TNA and Viacom, the end of the Video Game Awards, and the loss of many syndicated rerun programs, Spike relaunched (yet again) as a general entertainment channel, with a rebrand that's meant to be more inclusive to women. A UK version of the channel was launched later that spring, with local programming from Channel 5 (which is also owned by Viacom). Among other things, it is the first conventional TV channel in Britain to show Breaking Bad, which had previously only been available via Netflix or on disc.

In February 2017, it was announced that Spike would rebrand as the Paramount Network in 2018, as part of a larger revamp of Viacom's cable networks to focus on its "flagship six" brands: including Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon & Nick Jr., and BET.

Notable original programming on Spike:

  • Guys' Choice — an annual award show which exists to give the network's demographic a choice on what they like the best.
  • Impact Wrestling, The flagship show of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling; aired from 2005-2014.
  • The Joe Schmo Show, which had two seasons in the early 2000s, and then a nearly nine year gap before another season.
  • MANswers.
  • Lip Sync Battle, hosted by LL Cool J and originated as a recurring segment from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
  • MXC (or Most Extreme Elimination Challenge), which is simply a Gag Dub of an 80's Japanese game show called Takeshi's Castle.
  • Oblivious (or Obliviou$), a hidden-camera game show that ran for two seasons. The gag was that the host, Regan Burns, would be pretending to be working the whole time in a profession such as a florist as a baker, but while interacting with a customer would ask them trivia questions in a way that they wouldn't realize they were on a game show. In each episode, one of the marks then had the chance to turn things around by then doing the same thing with another unwitting contestant.
  • Ren and Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon
  • Scream Awards — An award show dedicated to sci-fi, fantasy, and horror movies & television shows, as well as comic books. Held from 2005-2011.
  • Spike Video Game Awards — An award show dedicated to video gaming. Held from 2003-2013 (with the last show being a event called VGX).
  • Stripperella
  • The Ultimate Fighter — an elimination style reality-series with guys competing to become a UFC fighter; this has consistently been one of the top-rated shows on the network since its inception. Beginning with season 15, the show moved to Fox Sports 1.
    • UFC Unleashed, an anthology series that airs classic or previously unaired UFC fights. Likewise moved to various Fox Sports channels.