Creator: Spike TV
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, or simply Spike as it is called now. 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.In 2015, they decided to tone it down a bit with a rebranding that's meant to be more inclusive to women. Time will tell if this sticks.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.A UK version of the channel was launched in the spring of 2015, taking some of its 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:
- One Thousand Ways To Die
- Auction Hunters
- Bar Rescue
- Bellator FC programs, including Fight Master and live event cards
- Blue Mountain State
- Catch A Contractor
- Criss Angel BeLIEve
- Deadliest Warrior
- E3 coverage beginning in 2013 due to G4's discontinuation, though much, much less and seemingly bent to promoting the games rather than providing critical commentary.
- Gary the Rat
- Guys' Choice Awards — an annual award show which exists to give the network's demographic a choice on what they like the best, though lately seems to be an overly-complicated way to get Jennifer Aniston to appear on an awards show once a year since 2010.
- Impact Wrestling
- The Joe Schmo Show, which had two seasons in the early 2000s, and then a nearly nine year gap before another season.
- MXC (or Most Extreme Elimination Challenge), which is simply a Gag Dub of an 80's Japanese game show called Takeshis Castle.
- Ren and Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon
- Scream Awards — another annual award show dedicated to sci-fi, fantasy, and horror movies & television shows, as well as comic books.
- Spike Video Game Awards — yet another award show that lasted for a decade from 2003 to 2013 (with the last show being named the VGX), obviously dedicated to video gaming. The winners were chosen by the gaming community at large, making it more of a popularity contest. It was criticized during its run for being an insult to the gaming community, with more focuses on the mainstream celebrities that appeal to the network's demographic. Still, most gamers watched it anyway for the exclusive reveals that were shown throughout the show. After Spike announced it would not make anymore VGAs in November 2014, producer Geoff Keighley of GameTrailers TV fame quickly created The Game Awards in response, which is independent, jury-voted (save for a few fan-voted awards) and streamed exclusively online.
- 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. Since 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.