TV Article

He Got Name

Spike Lee 1, Spike TV 0 -- The filmmaker wins a temporary injunction to stop cable's TNN from changing its name

Spike Lee | MO' BETTER Lee wins temporary injunction
Image credit: Spike Lee: Georges De Keerle/Getty Images/NewsCom
MO' BETTER Lee wins temporary injunction

In the Spike vs. Spike battle, Spike has won Round 1. In a Manhattan court on Thursday, Spike Lee won a temporary injunction against Viacom, barring the media giant (for now) from changing the name of cable channel TNN to Spike TV. Nonetheless, the Associated Press reports, New York State Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub ordered Lee to put up a $500,000 bond to reimburse Viacom for its losses in the event that the court ultimately spikes his case.

Lee (whose given name is Shelton Jackson Lee) has accused the channel of picking a new moniker that would capitalize on his established name and persona. Lee has argued that even friends like Edward Norton and Ossie Davis thought he had something to do with Spike TV when they first heard about it, and they've supplied him with affidavits saying so. Viacom, however, insists that it was just looking for an apt (and apparently Freudian) name for a channel whose testosterone-laden fare includes pro wrestling, reruns of ''The A-Team'' and ''Baywatch,'' and the new Pamela Anderson cartoon ''Stripperella.''

Johnnie Cochran, who's representing Lee, told AP, ''We're obviously elated. We had a good judge who looked at the law and at the facts.'' Viacom spokesperson Dan Martinsen, however, said, ''We respectfully disagree with the judge's decision, which was not supported by the law or the evidence.'' He said Viacom would appeal the decision and seek an immediate stay of the injunction.

Originally posted Jun 13, 2003