Spike Lee spiked Spike TV with a lawsuit on Wednesday, claiming the network (which is set to change its name from ”TNN” later this month) named itself after him. Lee is seeking an injunction to prevent the MTV Network-owned channel from implementing the name change; he also wants to be paid damages. ”Defendants chose the word ‘Spike’ in large part because of the audience recognition of plaintiff Spike Lee… in expectation that association with acclaimed director and filmmaker Spike Lee would increase [sic] ratings and reviews,” Lee’s lawyers wrote in the suit (posted, of course, on thesmokinggun.com).
In an effort to bolster his case, Lee got several celebrity pals, including ”25th Hour” star Edward Norton, former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley, and actor Ossie Davis, to provide affidavits testifying that they had assumed he was involved in Spike TV, until he told them otherwise. Spike TV, meanwhile, released a statement calling Lee ”one of the industry’s most important filmmakers,” but denying any impropriety: ” We are certain… that our conduct in launching ‘Spike TV’ was completely appropriate. And we are confident that the court will reject any legal claims by Mr. Lee to the popular word and name Spike.” Lee’s real name, by the way, is Shelton — in case any other networks are looking to rebrand.