Spike (formerly called Spike TV), a division of MTV Networks, is an American cable network designed for an audience described demographically as "young adult males." The network began life as The Nashville Network (TNN), founded by WSM, Inc. (a subsidiary of National Life and Accident Insurance Company) in a joint venture with Group W Satellite Communications on March 7, 1983 and acquired a few months later by Gaylord Entertainment Company. As of 2006, Spike's viewership is almost half women (45%). Furthermore, the average age of the network's viewers is 42 years old. Spike is available in 96.1 million American homes.
Today, after several changes of ownership and name, Spike operates as part of MTV Networks, owned by Viacom.
- In 1999, TNN began it's relationship with professional wrestling, signing a three year deal with Extreme Championship Wrestling. ECW on TNN was the highest rated show on TNN through 2000, despite limited advertising.
- TNN later acquired the rights to WWF (now WWE) programming, including its flagship show RAW Is War. It also aired some XFL games.
- In September 2005, all WWE (formerly the WWF) programming on Spike TV left the network as a result of acrimonious contractual matters between WWE and Viacom. WWE Raw moved back to its original cable home, NBC Universal's USA Network while WWE Sunday Night HEAT and WWE Velocity moved to WWE.com due to failure to gain a time slot for the shows in the United States. On October 1, 2005, wrestling promotion Total Nonstop Action Wrestling began airing its weekly program TNA Impact! in the Saturday night time slot formerly occupied by WWE Velocity. In WWE's last Monday Night Raw broadcast on the network, executives decided to censor WWE personalities whenever they tried to mention Raw's return to USA Network, scheduled for the following week. In what turned out to be a hectic night of sound suddenly vanishing, WWE's commentators finally succeeded in slipping the words "Next week on USA" past the censors at Spike TV, most likely due to Spike TV executives finally giving in.
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