TNN brings in new comms head before Spike switch

LOS ANGELES: Spike TV, formerly TNN (The National Network), has hired a new director of communications one month before launching a multimillion-dollar rebranding campaign.

LOS ANGELES: Spike TV, formerly TNN (The National Network), has hired a new director of communications one month before launching a multimillion-dollar rebranding campaign.

Robert Pini will assume the title of VP of communications.

In addition to heading up the PR department, he will serve as the network's main spokesman.

On June 16, the channel will officially change its name to Spike TV, after announcing the shift earlier this spring. Spike is trying to carve out a fresh image as "the first network for men," similar to Lifetime's approach for women.

"Spike TV captures the attributes and essence of what we want the first network for men to be," explained network president Albie Hecht. "It's unapologetically male; it's active; it's smart and contemporary, with a personality that's aggressive and irreverent."

The channel already has a large male audience, with programs such as Star Trek and

the World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) Raw. Spike TV will add original fare, including a new animated series created by actor John Leguizamo called Ziltch & Zero, as well as other shows featuring content from partners like Men's Health and Stuff magazines.

The new brand will be supported by an awareness campaign featuring outdoor, on-air, and print advertising. This is the second rebranding effort for the cable channel. Two years ago, it changed its name from The Nashville Network to The National Network after being acquired by MTV Networks, a Viacom company.

Pini joins Spike TV from Cond? Nast, where he handled media relations for Lucky and Wired magazines. He will report to Dan Martinsen, SVP of corporate communications for Nickelodeon, TV Land, and Spike TV.

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