Lee Drives Spike into Cable Channel
The TNN network is fighting back this week after director Spike Lee won a temporary injunction stopping media giant Viacom Inc. from changing the name of the cable network to Spike TV.
Viacom’s lawyers returned to court Tuesday seeking an immediate stay of the injunction, telling a New York appeals court that Lee’s action already had cost it $16.8 million.
The “Do the Right Thing” filmmaker, 46, took his action because of fears that the new network — which aims to appeal to men in the same way that the Lifetime network is geared to women — would be erroneously associated with him.
Cable operators were alerted against switching their logo icon to Spike TV as planned because of Lee’s injunction. The move caused “substantial confusion, expense and disruption,” according to TNN lawyer Clara Kim. She also said that TNN parent company Viacom could lose as much as $42 million should Spike TV not be allowed to launch.
Lee’s lawyer, Johnnie Cochran, argued that a network calling itself Spike TV would cause his client irreparable injury by associating “an acclaimed artist’s name” with the “demeaning, vapid and quasi-pornographic content of ‘Spike TV.'”
TNN currently offers reruns of “Star Trek,” “Baywatch” and “Miami Vice,” while the “new, improved” Spike TV is meant to offer new such new programs as the racy animated series “Stripperella” (featuring the voice of Pamela Anderson); “Gary the Rat” (Kelsey Grammer’s voice); and “The Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon.”