CABLEWORLD STAFF Viacom’s request for a stay of the injunction against the rebranding of TNN to Spike TV was denied Thursday by five New York state judges who conducted a rehearing en banc last week. Viacom had filed a petition for the rehearing when its request to overturn a preliminary injunction by a Manhattan judge was denied two weeks ago. Viacom responded in a statement: “We firmly believe we have an absolute right to use the common word ‘spike’ as the name of our network.” Viacom, which plans to appeal, said it had lost about $17 million since director Spike Lee filed his suit and stood to lose about $30 million of its $50 million rebranding marketing campaign. Despite the legal wrangling in New York, Spike Lee spent last week shooting a pilot for Viacom’s Showtime in Los Angeles. Lee is director and an executive producer on SFC (short for Sucker-Free City), a Showtime movie about gangs in San Francisco that may also serve as a series pilot. Showtime is also teaming with Monster.com to promote its series Dead Like Me, which kicks off this week (June 27 at 10 p.m.). The “Job to Die For” sweepstakes (running through Sept. 15) features a $10,000 prize and a walk-on role on the new series. In other Viacom news, company president Mel Karmazin told ad execs at an Association of National Advertisers meeting last week that he had approached AOL Time Warner about purchasing CNN as a companion news service for CBS. AOL Time Warner has said CNN is not on the block. Fresh on the heels of exiting the co-anchor’s chair at ESPN’s SportsCenter, Rich Eisen last week was named lead anchor of the NFL Network, where he will anchor a yet-to-be-named one-hour live studio show at 8 p.m. nightly from Los Angeles. DirecTV is on board for the new network’s launch this fall. Sopranos creator David Chase has agreed to a sixth season, comprising ten episodes to begin shooting in early 2005. All actors will return, barring any plot turns in season five. With Sex and the City‘s final season now underway, the network is reportedly in talks with Sex co-star Kim Cattrall for her own HBO series.

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