Upfronts ’15: Spike TV rebrands as general entertainment net

U.S. cable network Spike TV is hoping to attract more female viewers with a rebrand and a push into scripted programming. (Pictured: Dwayne Johnson at Spike's upfront presentation in New York City)
March 4, 2015

U.S. cable network Spike TV is making a play to attract more female viewers with a rebrand, a push into scripted series and… lip syncing.

During an upfront presentation in New York City on Tuesday (March 3), execs unveiled a new logo and the tagline “Spike: The Ones to Watch” designed to reflect the Viacom-owned channel’s shift from male-skewing programming to general entertainment aimed at both male and female viewers.

“We have successfully transformed Spike from a hyper-fueled network for young guys into a distinctive entertainment destination that’s inclusive and female friendly,” Spike president Kevin Kay said in a statement. “We built that foundation with gender-balanced original hits like Bar Rescue and Ink Master. Now those hits are paving the way for the next step in our development.”

Unscripted programming announcements included the 3 Ball Entertainment-produced Sweat Inc., a 10 x one-hour reality competition elimination series hosted by health and fitness expert and Biggest Loser mentor Jillian Michaels.

The show challenges 12 fitness entrepreneurs to develop a new exercise program in 10 weeks. The winner will receive a cash prize and a partnership with a national gym to further develop their fitness brand. Michaels will also serve as judge alongside two other fitness experts.

Spike has ordered eight more episodes of Lip Sync Battle, which is based on a Tonight Show segment of the same name. The network shot 10 episodes in New York in January with Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon’s Eight Million Plus Productions, Matador and producers John Krasinski and Stephen Merchant.

The eight additional episodes will be taped in Los Angeles with celebrities Emily Blunt, Anne Hathaway, Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Justin Bieber, Queen Latifah, Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Mike Tyson, and Terry Crews. The show will premiere on April 2.

The network is also partnering with Dwayne Johnson (pictured) and Dany Garcia’s $7 Bucks Productions to develop and produce event programming such as live events, specials, sports and initiatives surrounding American military troops and veterans.

Execs are also making big investments in original scripted programming. In addition to the previously announced miniseries Tut starring Ben Kingsley, Spike is developing Emergency Broadcast, a series from World War Z author Max Brooks and Legendary Pictures.

Earlier this week, Discovery Communications announced that Chris Rantamaki, most recently SVP of original series at Spike, would be headed to Discovery Channel as SVP of production and development.

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