CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- TNN network president Albie Hecht has announced that TNN: The National Network is set to be re-named Spike TV, reflecting its new brand positioning as the first network for men.
The change will take place on Monday, June 16. Specific details about the name change will be unveiled at the MTV Networks upfront presentation in New York City on May 6. "Today the first network for men has a name, and its Spike TV," Hecht said in making the announcement. "Spike TV captures the attributes and essence of what we want the first network for men to be. It's unapologetically male; it's active; it's smart and contemporary with a personality that's aggressive and irreverent. It's a name we feel our audience will get and make a connection with. I like Spike! This is a first major step in our journey to super-serving men in a way no one has done before."
As part of its official re-branding the network has signed content-sharing partnerships with Men's Health, Stuff magazine and CBS MarketWatch. Said partners are set to create on-air reports on topics including health, fitness, finance, automotive, technology and news beginning in the third quarter of 2003:
MEN'S HEALTH MINUTES -- With content directly from the pages of one of the most popular men's magazines, Men's Health Minutes will provide information and advice on uniquely male issues, from fitness to relationships and everything in between. Men's Health is the top-ranking magazine for Men 18-34.
CBS MARKETWATCH -- Guys like money, and girls like guys that have money. Therefore, guys are interested in the financial markets. Three times a day, viewers will get financial updates live from the floor of the NASDAQ and a look into the movers of the days and information about the day's hottest stocks.
ZERO TO 60 -- Since the first Mustang rolled off the assembly line, there's been something special about the relationship between guys and their cars. Zero to 60 will keep men up to date with the latest in automotive news, do-it-yourself tips, the latest must-have gadgets and more.
A GUY AND HIS STUFF -- Based on the magazine's column of the same name, this feature will wrap around the network's Wednesday-night movies and focus on the latest in gizmos, gadgets and technology for guys. Stuff magazine is aimed at male readers 18-25, with irreverent humor about the subjects they love most: women, sports and gadgets.
In addition, Hecht detailed the network's projects in development:
NEW ORIGINAL SERIES
RIDE WITH FUNKMASTER FLEX (premieres in August) -- Its cars meets cribs. Produced and hosted by top DJ and car enthusiast Funkmaster Flex, who takes viewers into his exclusive world of car culture and celebrity, the series premieres August '03 with a guest-star line-up including Eminem, Ja Rule and Nelly, among many others.
TOP 10 THINGS EVERY GUY SHOULD EXPERIENCE (premieres March 2004) -- Follows men as they personally experience once-in-a-lifetime sporting events, such as the Indianapolis 500, Kentucky Derby, NBA Finals, MLB's All-Star Game, PGA Championship and the Super Bowl. A monthly run-of-network feature bowing March '04.
THE EIGHT-MINUTE WORKOUT CHALLENGE (premieres January 2004) -- Every man's fantasy is to get a great body in only eight minutes a day. Based on the recent surge in short-term fitness workouts, this show challenges its participants (3 guys and 3 gals) to go through brief, intense weight-training regimens that burn fat while building muscle. The series premieres as part of the network's new weekend men's lifestyle block, debuting January '04.
CRASH TEST (premieres in December) -- A series that taps man's insatiable desire to compete and win at almost anything and at any cost, including sometimes their dignity. Here, guys will test their guile and guts as party crashers as they perform a series of tasks at parties to determine who is the ultimate party crasher. The series premieres in December '03.
ULTIMATE VACATION SWEEPSTAKES (premieres January 2004) -- Turquoise waters, five-star hotels, exotic locations and beautiful people. A travel show where men send in submissions to win the ultimate vacation. The series premieres as part of the network's new weekend men's lifestyle block, debuting January '04.
THE SCENE (premieres March 2004) -- Exploring men's fascination with entrepreneurial endeavors, this reality series follows a group of would-be Ian Schrager's as they set out to create the next hot spot. From the first planning meeting to opening night, The Scene will chronicle the highs, the stress and the ultimate outcome of men willing to take big risks to become the owner of the next metropolitan "It" place. The series premieres March '04.
In addition to its slate of new series and lifestyle programming, the network will regularly feature special-event programming, such as the previously announced inaugural Video Game Awards (December '03) that will focus on areas of entertainment of particular interest to men. Among the upcoming specials slated for the 03-04 season are:
100 MOST IRRESISTIBLE WOMEN (premieres in May) -- In a special Father's Day gift to men, this prime-time special will count down the year's most 100 irresistible women as voted by viewers.
AUTO ROCKS (premieres March 2004) -- It's the Fast & The Furious meets Lollapalooza -- the Oscars of the auto industry! This special will combine the hottest cars of tomorrow with the hottest music stars of today in a truly heavy metal experience.
STUFF HOLIDAY SHOPPING SPECIAL (premieres in November) -- When it comes to deciding what to buy girlfriends, wives, sons and dads for the holidays, men can never have enough help. This prime-time special, in partnership with Stuff magazine, will offer a look at the year's best holiday gift ideas.
Also, this June, the network will premiere its most ambitious original programming effort to date with a provocative new weekly animation block for guys, anchored by "Stan Lee's Stripperella," starring Pamela Anderson; "Gary the Rat," starring Kelsey Grammer and from creators Robb and Mark Cullen; and the return of the breakthrough series "Ren & Stimpy," featuring new original and very adult episodes from the mind of John Krisfaluci.
The network also will continue to feature movies with special appeal to men, including extending its Uncut movie franchise with full-length, unedited and limited commercial interruption versions of "No Way Out," "Blade Runner," "The Terminator," "The Godfather," "The Godfather, Part II" and "The Untouchables," among others. The network also has strengthened its James Bond franchise, building on the 15 original titles it acquired, with the additional acquisition of first-run window to the most recent Bond release "Die Another Day," and rights to "The World is Not Enough," "License to Kill," and "A View To A Kill."