Spike TV has picked up new seasons of Ink Master, which has received a 13-episode order, and Tattoo Nightmares, which has been given a 26-episode order, both for a 2014 debut. Ink Master is hosted by Dave Navarro and produced by Original Media. Season 3 (through September 24) is on track to rank as the series’ most watched season with 2.1 million viewers and has improved the time slot with persons 18-34 by 267% and 18-49 by 177%. Tattoo Nightmares is produced by 495 Prods. Season 2 (through September 24) is averaging 1.2 million viewers and has improved the time slot with persons 18-49 by 169%.
EXCLUSIVE: Spike TV, which earlier this year signaled a return to scripted programming through event series, has added another such project to its development slate — a new look at the story of Tutankhamun, aka King Tut (1333 to 1323 BC), the youngest Pharaoh to rule Ancient Egypt. The six-part series, from Canadian production company MUSE Entertainment (The Kennedys), is based on historical facts from recently discovered DNA evidence. It explores the drama of power, political backstabbing, war and murder and chronicles King Tut’s rise to glory, his efforts to rule a chaotic empire and the enigma surrounding his death.
Spike TV has ordered 10 one-hour episodes of the new original series in which restaurateur Jon Taffer and expert chefs John Besh and Tiffany Derry reach out and help “diamond in the rough” failing restaurants meet their potential. Hungry Investors, produced by Eyeworks USA, goes into production this fall and will premiere in spring 2014. Each week, the Hungry Investors team puts two struggling restaurants to the test to prove they deserve a second chance at success. The enterprise that shows the most promise of turning things around earns a significant cash investment. Taffer also serves as an executive producer along with JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson, Brant Pinvidic and DJ Nurre.
Spike TV has greenlighted Catch A Contractor, a new half-hour unscripted series hosted by Adam Carolla who serves as a vigilant watchdog to homeowners who have been cheated by a contractor and left with an unfinished disaster. In addition to being a TV and radio personality, Carolla apparently also is a passionate master carpenter who easily identifies shoddy, inferior work. Each episode will follow Carolla, along with no-nonsense contractor Skip Bedell and his wife, investigator Allison Bedell, as they seek retribution for wronged homeowners. Carolla and the Bedells hunt down and confront unscrupulous builders, drag them back to their construction disasters, and make them finish the job right. Spike TV has ordered 10 episodes which begins production this fall and will premiere in spring 2014. Eyeworks USA created the series, with JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson, DJ Nurre and Brant Pinvidic executive producing.
Spike TV today announced promotions for a pair of execs in its original series division and the hiring of two others. Chris Rantamaki was upped from VP to SVP Original Series, reporting to EVP Sharon Levy, and Justin Lacob from Director to VP. Hayley Lozitsky and Kevin Bartel both join Spike as VP Original Series, with Lozitsky coming over from Ellen Rakieten Entertainment and Bartel from All3Media. SVP Tim Duffy is leaving Spike after nine years to launch a production company with his twin brother Mike.
Spike TV has greenlit 20 more episodes its popular original series Bar Rescue for a fall premiere. Bar Rescue features bar and nightlife expert Jon Taffer as he tries to help give failing establishments one last chance to transform themselves into profitable businesses. The series’ third season which premiered on Sunday, February 10, averaged 1.8 million viewers, its highest ever, and improved the timeslot by +282% with Adults 18-34 and +195% with Adults 18-49. The series drew a franchise-high 2.2 million viewers on April 7. Bar Rescue is produced by Eyeworks USA and Executive Producers JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson Brant Pinvidic, DJ Nurre, Tim Warren and Jon Taffer.
UPDATED: With little fanfare, Saturday’s hourlong season finale of Cops actually marked the venerable docu-reality series’ last original airing on Fox. The network signaled that the end was near when it cut back significantly the order for this season to accommodate sports coverage on Saturday. Cops‘ current 25th season did not premiere until December 15 after more than half a year off the air. Cops marked its 850th episode in February, and, with no plans for the show to return to Fox next season, the producer, Langley Prods., started looking for a new home. They’ve found it at Spike TV, where Season 26 of Cops will debut in September, airing in its long-time Saturday 8 PM time slot. As part of the deal, male-centric Spike TV also is acquiring a portion of the Cops library. (The news of the show’s move was first reported by TV Guide.)
This marks the end of an era as Cops was one of the programs that established the Fox brand and the longest-running Fox series currently on the air. Its cancellation comes two years after Fox ended Cops’ long-time companion, America’s Most Wanted, as a regular series. After a two-season stint on Lifetime, AMW again is looking for a new home after the cable network cancelled it a month ago. Cops ended its run on Fox respectably, drawing 2.9 million viewers and a 0.9/3 for its finale …
EXCLUSIVE: After a year break from scripted programming, following the end of comedy Blue Mountain State, Spike TV is returning to the arena with a new approach — betting on special-event series. The cable network’s scripted development slate includes five event series, including behind-the-scenes account of the 2012 terrorist attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, whose aftermath still echoes in Washington. The projects hail from such auspices as Tom Fontana, Chris Collins, Leslie Greif, Rock God & Gene Simmons, Bobby Moresco, Jonathan Koch and Steve Michaels, Craig Piligian and Dimitri Doganis & Bart Layton. “We’re concentrated on launching one or more special event series that we see as a great way to get to hour dramatic series,” said Spike TV’s EVP Original Series Sharon Levy, who oversees the network’s scripted development. Each project features Spike’s mission to thrill, inspire, and entertain as we’re broadening and expanding our brand.”
This marks Spike TV’s return to its scripted roots — the network’s last foray into scripted was with the 2007 event series The Kill Point. While the focus is for all five projects to be true events that “everyone wants to watch when it happens and that have a zeitgeist element to them,” some could live on beyond the original run, Levy said. For instance, Hit Men, a drama from Greif and Simmons about the mob’s takeover of the 1970s music industry, could continue as a series, while iHuman, about the intersection of technology and humanity and how their relationship evolves, could become an umbrella of films tackling the subject. Here are details about Spike TV’s scripted projects in development:
Spike TV Unveils Unscripted Development Slate That Includes Projects With Graham Elliot, Adam Carolla & Jon Taffer
Spike TV has announced its 2013 development slate that features unscripted projects starring Graham Elliot, Adam Carolla, and Bar Rescue’s Jon Taffer that tackle such topics as shoddy contractors and auto body shop mechanics, underground restaurants, small company acquisitions, money lending and negligent homeowners and hail from Eyeworks USA, Shine America, Thinkfactory, THE Co., Stone & Co., Matador, and Left/Right Prods. The new projects are designed to capitalize on the recent success of Ink Master, Tattoo Nightmares and Bar Rescue, said Spike TV’s EVP original series Sharon Levy. “They all share high stakes, smart edge and credible, charismatic TV personalities.” All of the shows also target the adult 18-49 demographics. Originally focused on males 18-34, Spike TV in the past couple of years had focused on expanding its reach to the older range of the 18-49 spectrum, while holding onto its young viewers. The network’s median age is now 40 for original series. In addition to its unscripted efforts, Spike TV is making a big push in scripted, looking to re-enter the space. Here are descriptions of Spike’s reality development slate:
TO CATCH A CONTRACTOR
Adam Carolla is not just a renowned television, radio, and internet personality with one of the most-downloaded podcasts in the world, he is also a passionate, knowledgeable construction expert. In this pilot, Carolla serves as a vigilant watchdog to homeowners or businesses who have been cheated by a contractor and left with an unfinished disaster. Carolla, along with no-nonsense contractor Skip Bedell, hunts down the shoddy builder and gets retribution for the owner by making them fix the disaster and finish the job. Eyeworks USA created the pilot for Spike TV. Executive Producers for Eyeworks USA are JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson, DJ Nurre, and Kevin Harris.
Tattoo Rescue follows New Jersey tattoo artist Joey Germinario as he and his team travel the country turning failing ink studios into profitable ones, dealing with belligerent owners, obstinate artists and grungy shops with serious health code violations along the way. Spike TV has ordered 10 episodes of the one-hour series, from Charlie Corwin’s Original Media. The series is set to debut next summer. Sweatshop Media also exec produces. The network also announced it has picked up a second season of World’s Worst Tenants, which follows eviction specialist Todd Howard as he and his team forcibly remove problem tenants from the properties they manage. The first season of the half-hour original series, which aired over the summer, averaged 1 million viewers and grew its time slot in key demos. Barry Poznick and John Stevens of Zoo Productions are producers.
Lloyd’s of London has put up the cash and Spike TV is on the search to find the mysterious sasquatch in $10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty. The network has picked up the one-hour reality series that will follow teams of scientists, zoologists, seasoned trackers, and actual Bigfoot hunters as they seek the creature. Whatever team can irrefutable prove Bigfoot is real will win the $10 million prize, underwritten by Lloyd’s. The $10 million is the largest cash prize in TV history. Spike TV has put in a 10-episode order for the series, produced by Charlie Corwin’s Original Media. Corwin, Michael Riley and Jon Kroll will executive produce. $10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty will be filmed in various locations in the U.S..
Spike TV has given a 10-episode series order to Urban Tarzan, a half-hour show starring extreme animal handler known as “UrbanTarzan” (formerly John Brennan who legally changed his name to the one word UrbanTarzan) who rescues, captures, and relocates dangerous and exotic animals. The series, a rare venture for Spike into Animal Planet/National Geographic territory, follows UrbanTarzan as he runs the Urban Tarzan Animal Relocation team, a privately owned exotic and dangerous animal relocation service whose missions run the gamut from capturing a deadly python on the loose in a residential neighborhood to tracking down a lion that escaped from an animal sanctuary. Urban Tarzan is produced by Asylum Entertainment and will debut on Spike in the spring of 2013. Steve Michaels and Jonathan Koch serve as executive producers. The original concept for the show was created by UrbanTarzan, Lorraine Yarde and Mark Basile.
EXCLUSIVE: Don Mischer will get to produce a TV special starring Eddie Murphy after all. Mischer, who produced this year’s Academy Awards that had Murphy attached as host early on, will executive produce a televised tribute to the comedy actor, which will air on Spike TV. Titled Eddie Murphy: One Night Only, the event will tape on Saturday, November 3 at the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles for a broadcast on Nov. 16 on Spike TV. The special will mark 30 years since the release of Murphy’s famous stand-up special Delirious! and the film 48 Hrs., which made him a movie star.
It will highlight Murphy’s career from a 15-year-old aspiring comedian to a Saturday Night Live breakout and a comedy feature superstar and will feature Murphy’s co-stars from many of his films including 48 Hrs., Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, Coming To America, The Nutty Professor, Shrek, and Dreamgirls. The two-hour show will include short films, musical performances and sketch comedy, culminating in an appearance by Murphy.
EXCLUSIVE: Spike TV has greenlit a third season of 20 episodes of its popular unscripted original series, Bar Rescue for a premiere in the first quarter of 2013. The second season of the series, which follows nightlife consultant Jon Taffer as he tries to help failing hospitality establishments, premiered on July 29 to an average of 1.3 million viewers and improved the timeslot by 100% with Men 18-49 and 89% with Persons 18-34. Bar Rescue is produced by Eyeworks USA and Executive Producers JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson and DJ Nurre.
EXCLUSIVE: Spike TV has renewed two of its highest-rated non-scripted series. The network has picked up a 26-episode fourth season of Auction Hunters, which follows prospectors Allen Haff and Ton Jones in their quest to win auctions, dig for abandoned historical treasure and sell them for a profit. The network also has ordered 13 episodes of American Digger, starring the American Savage team, led by former professional wrestler-turned-modern-day relic hunter Ric Savage. Auction Hunters and American Digger, which aired together on Wednesday night and are both produced by Gurney Prods., will go into production on their new seasons this fall for a 2013 premiere.
The recently completed season three of Auction Hunters, which included a live season premiere, averaged 1.9 million viewers and improved the Wednesday 9 PM timeslot with Men 18-49 by +102% and Men 35-49 by +121%. The debut season of American Digger delivered 1.2 million viewers and improved the Wednesday 10 PM timeslot with Men 35-49 by +36% and +11% with Men 18-49. “We are thrilled to bring back new episodes of two of our most popular shows that speak to the network’s mission of delivering bold, non-scripted entertainment with real stakes”, said Spike TV’s EVP Sharon Levy. Auction Hunters and American Digger are executive produced by Scott Gurney and Deirdre Gurney.
Just in time for the potential end of the world later this year, Spike TV has greenlighted Last Family On Earth, a new competition reality series in which families vie for a spot in an underground fortified Vivos bunker. Produced by Craig Piligian’s Pilgrim Studios, the six-episode one-hour series will premiere this fall, with the finale, in which the winning family move into their bunker, airing just before December 21 — when some expect potential cataclysmic demise as allegedly predicted by the Mayan calendar. The competition will showcase survival techniques and, in addition to endurance and physical skills, test the contestants’ leadership abilities, integrity and character. The doomsday scenarios that will be played out on the show include a pandemic, global government or economic collapse, nuclear war, reactor meltdowns, solar flares, massive asteroids, lethal climactic change, a pole shift, calamitous earthquakes, and even widespread anarchy. A panel of three survivalist-expert judges, along with viewer input via social media, will help determine which family is eliminated each week. The participating families, which come from a variety of backgrounds, are among the 15% of the world’s population who believe the end of civilization is near.
Samuel L. Jackson has signed to return as host of Spike TV‘s Video Game Awards, which will air live December 7 and be produced again by Mark Burnett. The event, dubbed VGA Ten this year to celebrate its 10th anniversary, hands out honors and features world premieres of upcoming titles. Burnett, Casey Patterson and Carol Donovan will executive produce. Jackson, who pulled the same duty for Spike’s VGAs from 2005-2007, also is hosting the BET Awards on July 1.
Spike TV and TNA Entertainment have extended their strategic partnership that bolsters Spike TV’s position as the exclusive U.S. television home of the sports-wrestling content provider. Spike president Kevin Kan and TNA president Dixie Carter announced the deal extension today. TNA wrestling debuted on Spike TV in July 2005. Ratings for TNA flagship Impact Wrestling have grown from an average of 700,000 viewers at launch to nearly 2 million, which makes it one of Spike’s top-rated shows and a Thursday timeslot favorite among men 18-34. Impact Wrestling‘s roster includes Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, Booby Roode, Sting, James Storm, Rob Van Dam as well as the Knockouts.