NEW YORK – Spike TV (search) is going off the air before it even goes on.
A Manhattan judge yesterday signed an order temporarily barring Viacom Inc. from changing the name of its TNN cable network to Spike TV, as it had planned to do Monday.
Malcolm X director Spike Lee (search) argued the name change could lead people to believe he's involved with the network, a channel "for men" that will revolve around racy programming.
The judge presiding over the case, Walter Tolub, found Lee had presented enough of a case to stop the name change from going into effect pending further hearings.
Lee lawyer Johnnie Cochran (search) said he and his client were "ecstatic."
Dan Martinsen, a spokesman for TNN, said the network plans to appeal.
The judge wrote, "What appears, at first blush, to be an exercise in egocentricity, becomes on closer review an earnest attempt by a prominent personality to limit what he regards as the commercial exploitation of his public persona."
Tolub added that TNN President Albie Hecht "has conceded that Spike Lee was one of the role models for the network name," along with other notable Spikes.
He said the word "Spike" coupled with the network's marketing itself as "aggressive and irreverent" could mislead the public into thinking Lee was involved.
Tolub ordered the director to post a $500,000 bond to reimburse TNN for expenses stemming from the injunction in case he eventually rules against Lee.