Bay Bridge

Spike Lee must post $2.5M bond in lawsuit

Logo - USA TodayJune 25, 2003 | USA Today

NEW YORK (AP) — Spike Lee, who’s suing to stop Viacom International from renaming its TNN cable channel as “Spike TV,” must post a $2.5 million bond to cover the media giant’s costs if it wins the case, a Manhattan judge said.

Lee had posted a $500,000 bond June 13 after winning a temporary injunction against Viacom’s plan to rename TNN. State Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub gave him until Thursday to post the additional $2 million.

The 46-year-old director of films including Malcolm X and Do the Right Thing got the injunction after claiming that Viacom, owner of the CBS network, MTV and Showtime, was renaming TNN in a deliberate attempt to hijack his name, image and reputation.

On Tuesday, the judge revised the amount of Lee’s bond after hearing testimony from TNN vice president Kevin Kay that the network had lost millions of dollars since the injunction and could lose millions more before the case goes to trial Aug. 18.

Examples of lost money, Kay said, include $1.4 million for a launch party at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles and $5.7 million to advertise TNN as Spike TV. Kay said Viacom would spend at least $8.4 million after the trial to rename TNN, even if it must be called something besides Spike TV.

Lee’s lawyers said Kay exaggerated Viacom’s losses since much of TNN’s printed matter, videotape and other material is reusable whether Viacom uses the name Spike or not. They said Viacom’s losses were hundred of thousands of dollars, not millions.

One of Lee’s lawyers, Terry Gross, also suggested that Viacom’s damages had been lessened by the extensive media coverage TNN had received because of Lee’s lawsuit.

Viacom wants to change TNN’s name to Spike TV to attract more men to an audience that’s already about two-thirds male.

The network shows reruns of The A-Team, Baywatch and Miami Vice and sports entertainment such as professional wrestling and American Gladiators. It also carries an animated series featuring Pamela Anderson as the voice of Stan Lee’s Stripperella, an undercover agent who’s also a stripper.