General News

Spike Lee To Pay To Protect Name

By:
Jun 26, 2003 | 9:07am EDT

What's in a name? Lots of cash, apparently.

In Spike Lee's ongoing battle to stop Viacom International from renaming their TNN cable channel "Spike TV," a Manhattan judge ordered the 25th Hour director to post a $2.5 million bond to cover the media giant's cost if it wins the lawsuit, The Associated Press reports.

Lee already posted a $500,000 bond June 13 after winning a temporary injunction, claiming Viacom, owner of the CBS network, MTV and Showtime, was renaming TNN in a deliberate attempt to hijack his name, image and reputation. Viacom wants to change TNN's name to Spike TV to attract and keep their predominantly male audience.

On Tuesday, State Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub revised the bond amount after hearing testimony from TNN vice president Kevin Kay, who explained the company had already lost millions of dollars since the injunction and could lose millions more before the case goes to trial Aug. 18.

According to AP, Kay's detailed examples of lost revenue included $1.4 million for a launch party at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles and $5.7 million to advertise TNN as Spike TV. Kay also said Viacom would spend at least $8.4 million after the trial to rename TNN, even if it must be called something besides Spike TV.

Lee's lawyers told the judge Kay exaggerated Viacom's losses since much of TNN's printed matter, videotape and other material is reusable whether Viacom uses the name Spike or not, AP reports. One of Lee's lawyers, Terry Gross, even suggested that Viacom's damages had been lessened due to the extensive media coverage TNN had received since Lee filed his lawsuit.

Nevertheless, the judge ruled in Viacom's favor and gave Lee until Thursday to post the additional $2 million.

More General News