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This View by Nancy LeMay
Nancy LeMay is a five-time Emmy winning broadcast designer who has worked both in New York and LA, in network and local. She is a teacher and a painter as well. You can reach her through her website, and by email at

Spike TV

I have to admit some mixed feelings about the saga of Spike TV. On the one hand, I cheered a bit when Spike Lee got the courts to prevent the name change; ‘ a triumph of the individual against monolithic corporate America!’ I thought. (I immediately felt vaguely quaint, though, in a granola-and-Birkenstocks sort of way). Then I imagined a bunch of pink slips going out to TNN employees as the company tried to recoup some of the money lost by not being able to implement their new brand identity. I am torn.

So Mr. Lee thinks viewers will associate Spike TV with him, while the creators of Spike TV are on the record saying they wanted to evoke your dog, Spike, or a spiked football, in order to connect with the men who are so woefully underrepresented on network TV. Spike TV- The Network Just for Men! Now there’s cutting edge branding for you. Never mind that there is a Fox Sports channel for every point on the compass, Speedvision, ESPN and it’s many iterations, the Outdoor Channel, the Sci Fi Channel, ‘Fear Factor’, stupid human tricks of all kinds, extreme sports…

No, men need another place of their own in the pantheon of television choice. Doubtless they will add ‘Rutger Hauer Week’ to the existing rounds of ‘Movies for guys who like movies’ and choke-shot promos of fellows who French kiss live scorpions.

However, if these TNN guys have some boldness, if they actually make an effort to address men instead of just entertain them, they might fill TNN with something worthwhile. A program for men about child care issues? About the problems of balancing work and family, entrepreneuring or career change? Cooking Without A Microwave? (Just kidding).

I don’t expect an Oprah for men- though you may argue that Dr. Phil is out there already and doing just fine, thank you. And that’s my point. TNN/Spike TV seems right now like a cartoon of media excess, but it could be made into something really new, addressing the concerns of a generation of men who’ve watched women’s self-analysis on TV and could benefit from a turn… at bat, if you will. Will we see another network take the easy way out, dipping further into the TV recycling bin, or will they try to do something that may make a real contribution to men, and the women who are around them. We will watch the glowing box, and we will see.