Spike TV Rebrands, Inks Deal With Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson
Austin Hargrave

This is Hollywood’s reigning action hero, an ambitious wrestler turned actor, as smart as he is supple, as driven as he is dynamic. Combining several traits of the ’90s action stars — the wit of Willis, the strength of Schwarzenegger, the heart of Stallone — he’s become the go-to guy for studios anxious to reboot their franchises.

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Spike TV used its upfront presentation platform on Tuesday to unveil a new logo and tagline, and announce an overall deal with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, among other news.

As the network pushes for more gender balance — the Viacom-owned cabler announced a fitness competition foray with Jillian Michaels early Tuesday — Spike also ordered eight additional episodes of its John Krasinski- and Stephen Merchant-produced Lip Sync Battle and put scripted drama Emergency Broadcast into development.

In announcing its edgier logo and "Spike: The Ones to Watch" tagline, network president Kevin Kay stressed that it has transformed from a home for young men into a destination that's "inclusive and female friendly."

"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, with shows like Tut and Lip Sync Battle," Kay said of the rebranding, which will include on-air and multiplatform properties. "The new Spike has got it all: big talent, engaging shows and hits that get people talking. We are the ones to watch."

Here's more on Spike's upfront announcements:

• Scripted drama Emergency Broadcast hails from Legendary Pictures and centers on a group of government responders who confront the planet's biggest crises and disasters. It's based on an original idea from Legendary CEO Thomas Tull and reteams the company with longtime collaborator Max Brooks, the author of World War Z and Zombie Survival Guide, who serves as a consultant on the drama.

• Johnson and Dany Garcia's $7 Bucks Productions banner will create and produce programming from live events, specials, sports and initiatives surrounding troops and veterans with a goal of tapping into humanity, touching lives and inspiring and entertaining the audience.

• The additional eight episodes Lip Sync Battle will feature celebrities Emily Blunt, Anne Hathaway, Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Queen Latifah, Justin Bieber, Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Mike Tyson and Terry Crews. The additional pickup brings the series, inspired by the regular bit on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, to 18 episodes.

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