Spike leaps into late night TV battle


Another cable network is eying a piece of the late night TV pie. But the new show set to launch on Spike TV won’t be recognizable as the same genre occupied by David Letterman, Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien.

“This won’t be your typical late night series with typical celebrity chit-chat. This show will come with that distinctive and irreverent Spike voice and point-of-view our viewers have come to expect from us. We are looking to provide our young male audience with water cooler chatter for the next day.” Sharon Levy, senior vice president, original programming for Spike TV.

The Viacom-owned network for guys is partnering with Thom Beers, Philip Segal and Original Productions, a FremantleMedia Company, to develop a weekly half-hour series that will be a combination of talk and comedy with a focus on what the partners call “manformation” for the true guys’ guy.

Forget having celebrities sit on a couch. Instead of a typical movie star plugging an upcoming project, the Spike TV series plans to showcase interesting guests from all walks of life who find themselves in extraordinary situations, such as a convenience store clerk who defended himself against would-be criminals, or a former stock broker who quit his job to join the Green Berets in Afghanistan.  The show will have two hosts and various correspondents. The hosts have not yet been named. Spike says it is currently scouring the country to cast the series pilot with the right fresh face and regular guy-image.  

“Guys crave to be informed and entertained in an authentic voice. There are lots of options in late night right now, but none directly tailor-made to the hard-to-reach young male audience as our show will be,” Thom Beers, CEO of Original Productions.

George “Maddox” Ouzounian, author of the #2 NY Times Best-Seller “The Alphabet of Manliness and I Am Better Than Your Kids,” and Dax Herrera (a/k/a Dick Masterson), author of Man Points and Men Are Better Than Women are attached to the project. Ouzounian and Herrera were introduced to Original Productions by Justin Killion, vice president of development for Original Productions.

RBR-TVBR observation: Look for competition in late night to continue to heat up. There’s money to be made and a lot of the audience is suddenly up for grabs, thanks to NBC, so lots of networks are going to look for ways to grab a share.