Spike vs. Spike suit is settled. Spike Lee will let TNN call itself Spike TV, effective immediately

By Gary Susman
July 08, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

At long last, Pamela Anderson’s ”Stripperella” and new ”Ren and Stimpy” cartoons can be shown on a male-targeted cable network with an appropriately phallic moniker. Spike Lee has settled his suit against media giant Viacom over its desire to rename TNN ”Spike TV,” his attorney announced Monday, and the Manhattan Supreme Court judge overseeing the case lifted the injunction barring the name change. Details of the settlement were not announced. Both sides were expected to appear in court Tuesday for a final hearing.

The network, which was rebranding itself as ”the first network for men,” was to have switched from TNN to Spike on June 16, but the ”25th Hour” director’s suit, arguing that the new name was trading on his reputation and confusing his friends and fans, temporarily scrapped the ”Spike TV” rollout and forced the network to call itself ”the new TNN.” The judge, however, ordered Lee to put up a bond of $500,000 in case he lost the suit and had to pay damages. (The bond amount rose to $2.5 million, but Lee had not yet paid the additional bond as of Monday.) Now that Viacom can go ahead with the renaming, ”we’re very happy about the outcome,” the network said in a statement.

According to Variety, Viacom claims the delay has cost the company $30 million. However, the case gave the little-known cable channel a publicity boost, Lee’s lawyer, Terry Gross, told the New York Post. Citing the adage that there’s no such thing as bad P.R., at least if the papers spell your name right, Gross said, ”The media has spelled Spike TV’s name right in this case.”