Court spikes TNN appeal over name

Rebranded launch party taken off TV sked

NEW YORK — TNN’s change to Spike TV is still TBA.

On Friday, New York Appellate Court judge Luis Gonzalez denied Viacom’s request to overturn Spike Lee’s preliminary injunction against use of Spike moniker.

Cabler had planned to launch a rebranded Spike TV today. On Friday, all references to Spike TV on the Web site, including a countdown, were removed. A broadcast of last Tuesday’s Spike TV launch party at the Playboy Mansion was removed from tonight’s sked.

Launch still on

Otherwise, first bit of new programming, including animation block — featuring a new adult version of “Ren & Stimpy,” “Gary the Rat” and “Stripperella” — will still launch June 26.

Channel’s latest statement read: “We are continuing on our path to build the first network for men, and we will proceed on schedule with the premieres of our exciting new programs. Until this matter is resolved, we will remain the New TNN.”

Although Lee filed suit against TNN, MTV and Viacom, he is still committed to direct Showtime pilot “SFC,” which went into production June 6 in Canada. With DDB Worldwide, he is also the founding partner of ad agency Spike DDB.

Argument rejected

Last Thursday’s State Supreme Court ruling rejected Viacom’s argument that the first name of a celebrity without more identifying material is not entitled to protection under state law. Acting Justice Walter B. Tolub cited Cher, Madonna and Sting as celebrities who are recognized on a single-name basis.

Viacom returns to court June 17 to make its case before the full panel of the Appellate Division.

There was no news as to whether canine Spike, who appears in Par’s “The Rugrats Go Wild,” will also bite the hand that feeds him and join Lee in a class-action suit.

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