Creator / Spike TV

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Spike (formerly 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, a country music channel launched two days after rival CMT. The Nashville Network 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 shows 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 second attempt at a "general entertainment" channel (the first was USA Network, which they were once a part-owner of). 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 New TNN also featured reruns of shows such as Baywatch, Diff'rent Strokes, 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 reruns.

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 decided to tone it down a bit 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.

Notable original programming on Spike:

  • Guys' Choice Awards — an annual award show which exists to give the network's demographic a choice on what they like the best. Lately, it seems to be an overly-complicated way to get Jennifer Aniston to appear on an awards show once a year since 2010.
  • 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.

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