Trial date set for Spike spat


A New York judge set Aug. 18 as the trial date for the legal dispute between
filmmaker Spike Lee and Viacom Inc.-owned The New TNN over renaming the cable channel Spike

Initially, the court had been expected to set a September trial date.

This week, however, New York State Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub,
seeking to expedite the process, proposed a July 7 trial date.

Lee's lawyers countered that the date was too soon.

A TNN spokesman said the network was "pleased with the court's decision to
grant our request for an expedited trial."

Justice Tolub does not want the case to focus on Lee's celebrity, but rather
on whether Spike TV will cause viewer confusion.

The case will be heard by a judge, not a jury.

The judge also ruled Tuesday that Lee will immediately have to pony up
another $2 million bond to cover TNN's expenses if the network wins the case.

Lee already posted a $500,000 bond -- an amount that, at the time, TNN called
"grossly inadequate."

In earlier court papers, a TNN lawyer asserted that the network could lose $42.7
million in advertising and promotional value if it is not allowed to relaunch as
Spike TV.

In other Spike news, TNN got support from the son of late musician Spike
Jones, who filed papers with the court questioning Lee's corner on the Spike
name market and invoking yet another Spike.

"If Spike Lee is concerned about confusion in the marketplace, why hasn't he
sued Spike Jonze the filmmaker?" said Spike Jones Jr.