Get ready for the main event. For the first time, Bellator MMA is coming to New York City, where Spike will host its biggest fan spectacular yet, live from Madison Square Garden.
Jon Slusser, Viacom senior vice president for Sports and Specials at Spike, talks about what makes this event historic: from the title fights to the overall fan experience, and why, thanks to the dedication of the Spike team, Bellator continues to be a knockout success.
Hear what Slusser has to say about this fans-first extravaganza.
They’re crawling out of The Mist: the terror, the monsters, the tragic characters of Stephen King’s imagination. It is the classic tale of small-town Maine meets nightmare dimension adapted from King’s 1980 novella, but painted over the rich canvas of a 10-part Spike miniseries.
When it debuts in June, the series will expand considerably on the setting and characters of King’s original work, allowing a deeper exploration of its themes of good and evil, human nature and morality – all with the author’s blessing. As The Boston Globe’s Isaac Feldberg wrote, “… when an e-mail to King himself, outlining ideas for how to adapt The Mist into a series, was met with emphatic support and one requirement — don’t do anything ordinary — everyone working on the series grew more keen to flesh out the world beyond the novella, bringing in fresh ideas and unfamiliar characters.”
The basic premise follows King’s script: citizens of fictional Bridgeville, Maine find themselves marooned indoors (in this case, a shopping mall and a church), when the mist rolls in. A few outdoor stragglers are rapidly devoured by the fog’s embedded demons.
“Soon it becomes clear that whatever is in the mist is not natural, and if you go out there, you will die,” saidThe Mist creator and showrunner Christian Torpe.
What lies inside may not be much better, as the terrified and panicked hostages begin to turn on one another. The first trailer delivers a horrifying preview of this wrecked world:
With its small-town setting, there is a presumed familiarity between characters even before the fog, and The Mist picks up on and develops these rich relationships – and how they evolve or devolve in the savagery of the mystery fog – as a primary plot catalyst.
“We had a rule in the writers’ room that if you ever needed the mist to move the story forward you were in trouble, because we wanted the story to be propelled by the characters, and their reactions to the mist — not the mist itself,” Torpe told The Boston Globe.
For Eve Copeland, the mist, “… brings some stuff out in Eve that makes her willing to do whatever she needs to do,” said Alyssa Sutherland, whose character’s uneven personal history has made her wildly protective of her daughter, a survivor of sexual assault:
Eve is just one character of many – with 10 episodes, the series leaves ample room for rich development. As the small town cast flows through a vast interconnected matrix of intensifying carnage, how each person reacts reveals an enormous amount about them and about humanity.
“People’s true natures start to come out,” said Darren Pettie, who plays sheriff Connor Heisel on the show. Pettie is one of many cast members who speak to the show’s revealing portrayal of human nature in this Entering The Mist featurette:
We all know the basics: On Feb. 26, 2012, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin went out for a bag of Skittles. He never came home. George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman, shot him dead. The gunman was acquitted on self-defense grounds. Widespread outrage ensued.
Beyond that simple plot, it is a much more difficult story to comprehend: a narrative threaded together by frantic and contradictory 911 calls, eyewitness accounts and police testimony; a legal definition of murder mutated by Florida’s Stand Your Ground law; and a charged political atmosphere that transformed the confrontation into a proxy war for many of America’s social and racial grievances.
When Spike rebrands to Paramount Network early next year, the net will meticulously deconstruct this troubling saga with Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story, a six-part documentary created in conjunction with Shawn Carter and The Weinstein Company. This event – which will be Paramount Network’s first non-scripted series – is the second between these parties – the partnership launched earlier this year with the blistering Time: The Kalief Browder Storydocu-series.
Thousands of demonstrators march along W. 13th Street in Sanford, Florida, during a NAACP rally and march demanding justice in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, Saturday, March 31, 2012. (Gary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)
“I am thrilled to once again partner with the incredibly talented team of The Weinstein Company and Shawn Carter to take a comprehensive look beyond the headlines at the circumstances that caused Trayvon’s senseless death and the movement born out of this tragedy,” said Kevin Kay, president of Spike TV (soon to be Paramount Network), TV Land, and CMT.
I Am Heath Ledgerexplores the life and tragic death of a rising Hollywood talent. The film, produced and directed by Derik Murray, is an astonishing posthumous profile of the fiercely talented and energetic actor stitched together from previously unseen footage shot from Ledger’s own cameras.
The actor died in 2008, long before the rise of the smartphone dropped a camera in everyone’s pocket, yet the film underscores the centrality of the device to Ledger’s life.
“There were always cameras around,” said model Christina Cauchi – one of many friends, family, and industry peers interviewed for the documentary – in the recently released trailer. “A videocamera or a Polaroid camera or the film camera. That’s the only way that I think of him, with the camera in his hand.”
“He was always a director,” said musician Ben Harper in the same video. “Acting was just a way to get there.”
Watch the full trailer below:
Ledger’s talents as an actor were considerable, however, and included the role of gay cowboy Ennis in 2005’s Brokeback Mountain and an Oscar-winning performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight.
“Before Brokeback Mountain came out, it would have been unthinkable to have romantic tragedy involving two gay cowboys,” said actor Ben Mendelsohn. “This is one of the biggest heartthrobs on Earth taking on that character. That’s an artist.”
“When they sent me to Rikers Island, I was 16. I would say it was like hell on Earth. Sometimes, you know, I feel like I’m never going to be the same. You know, I smile, and I joke a lot. But, you know, deep down, I’m a mess because like I’m 21, and on the inside I feel like I’m 40.” – The late Kalief Browder – Time: The Kalief Browder Story
Spike’s documentary series Time: The Kalief Browder Story exposes our broken U.S. justice system through the tragic story of Kalief Browder—a young black man who committed suicide in 2015 after spending three years on New York City’s Riker’s Island prison for allegedly stealing a backpack.
Image courtesy of Spike.
Browder fought to clear his name until he could not fight any longer. With help from public officials and other media outlets, Spike is picking up where he left off.
In 2010, Kalief Browder was stopped in the Bronx on his way home from a party. Police told the 16-year-old and his friend that they were suspects in a robbery. A man claimed they had stolen his backpack. Browder pleaded his innocence, and asked officers to search him. They found nothing.
The boys were cuffed and brought to the precinct, where they were fingerprinted and locked in a holding cell. According to Jennifer Gonnerman’s 2014 exposé for the New Yorker, Browder expected to be released shortly.
Instead, he spent the next three and a half years incarcerated on Rikers Island.
In this time, Browder experienced such gruesome conditions he attempted to take his own life, twice. He was attacked by guards and fellow inmates, robbed, and thrown in solitary confinement. When offered a plea bargain that would let him leave Rikers if he admitted guilt, the teen maintained his innocence and waited for his day in trial.
That day never came. Instead, the case fizzled out. The man accusing Browder of stealing his backpack—a backpack which never turned up as evidence—returned to his home country.
Without evidence or a witness to testify against Browder, the prosecutors gave up. There was no trial. There was no verdict. Browder was summarily released. After three and a half years, Browder finally returned to his Bronx neighborhood. It didn’t feel like home anymore.
Spike’s hit series, Ink Masters, is the ultimate test of endurance, creativity, and talent. Each week, tattoo artists compete to win $100,000 and the coveted crown of Ink Master. They’re challenged to deviate from their traditional style, tattooing live on brave volunteers otherwise known as “human canvasses.” The season culminates with a sensational finale that includes a grueling 24-hour tattoo session, live voting via Twitter, and plenty of audience commentary.
Viacom’s employee lottery series brought tattoo enthusiast and longtime Ink Master fan Michele Graczyk to the season eight finale on Tuesday, Dec. 6. She watched as Ryan Ashley Malarkey became the first female Ink Master in Spike history.
Michele Graczyk attended Spike’s Ink Master live finale. Photo courtesy of Graczyk.
When Dwayne Johnson announced Spike’s Rock the Troops special at the 2015 Guys Choice Awards, he set expectations pretty high.
“I’m going to partner with Spike,” he said at the time, poised on the ice-and-antler-bedecked California stage before dozens of U.S. service members. “And we are going to put on the single greatest, most electrifying military entertainment show the world has ever seen.”
He wasn’t kidding. Now that Spike has released details about the event, it looks more spectacular than we could have imagined.
Kevin hart, Jack Black, Keegan Michael-Key, Rob Riggle, Scott Eastwood and Terry Crews will be there. Nick Jonas, Flo Rida, Tenacious D, Lynyrd Skynrd, Aaron Lewis, and more will perform. It will all happen at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, a sprawling and iconic nexus of two branches of the U.S. armed forces.
What’s it like to work the Spike Guys Choice Awards? Spike’s Christi Angel reports back after attending the event for her first time. Sound cool? Check out the full show here.
That moment when Terrance Howard graciously offers to take a selfie represents the good times at the Guys Choice Awards -where anything goes. Yes, this was the best inaugural moment for my first show with Spike.
Dwayne Johnson rocks the stage in his Lip Sync Battle debut.
Viewers watching the debut of Lip Sync Battle on Spike TV saw actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson bust some ferocious dance moves while perfectly lip-synching Taylor Swift’s ShakeIt Off. Lip Sync Battle was the most watched premiere in network history, with over 3 million viewers. The show also scored big on social media. #LipSyncBattle was trending in the United States and worldwide during both the East and West Coast airings, and has generated more than 15 million video views on YouTube and Facebook.
Lip Sync Battle airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on Spike TV.