Spike TV makes big play for Kay

Exec called to net's VP duty

Nickelodeon Networks vet Kevin Kay has been named exec VP-general manager for Spike TV.

Kay, previously head of programming and production, will shift his focus to managing the day-to-day and business operations of Spike’s East Coast offices.

Acquisitions, marketing, press, research and on-air promotions will now fall under his purview. Kay will also continue to run the sports and docu departments as well as lead the revamp of the cabler’s online operation — one of Spike prexy Doug Herzog’s top priorities.

Spike has bowed few breakthrough skeins since its launch in 2003 but delivers healthy primetime ratings thanks to its stable of “CSI” repeats. Herzog, to whom Kay will continue to report, moved the network’s programming base to Los Angeles over the summer, hiring three execs to run all of the cabler’s original entertainment projects (Daily Variety, July 5).

With the programming division relocating coasts, Herzog said Kay was looking to increase his responsibilities.

“Kevin’s got a broad range of skills and enormous leadership capabilities, which I really need out of New York right now,” Herzog explained. “As one of the architects of the Spike brand, I feel more than comfortable letting him concentrate on branding and marketing and other big-picture areas. Kevin has primarily been a developer up until now, but I think he’s going to be running his own operation one day, and he’s greeted this challenge with open arms.”

Part of Kay’s immediate responsibilities will be maintaining and beefing up Spike’s sports portfolio. Second season of the reality show “Ultimate Fighter” has performed well, and cabler Saturday debuted Total Non-Stop Action wrestling, a sports franchise that in success will help alleviate the loss of World Wrestling Entertainment to USA. In addition, Spike last month scored critical raves for its Latin baseball doc “Viva Baseball.”

Kay has served as exec VP of programming/production for Spike since its launch and helped develop key programs “Ultimate Fighter,” “The Joe Schmo Show” and net’s “Video Game Awards.” Before that, he was exec VP of production and original series for Nick, Nick at Nite and TV Land, where he helped developed “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “The Fairly OddParents,” among other series.

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