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TNN can call itself "Spike TV'

Filmmaker Spike Lee and Viacom have settled a lawsuit Lee filed to keep the media giant from calling its TNN cable television network "Spike TV."

Lee had obtained a temporary injunction in June, preventing the name change, but on Monday state Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub lifted the order.

The ruling means Viacom, which also owns CBS and MTV, can proceed with plans to rebrand TNN as Spike TV, the "first television network for men." Viacom said it was renaming TNN to attract more men to its already two-thirds male audience.

Lee claimed Viacom was renaming TNN to deliberately hijack his name, image and reputation.

The judge initially ordered Lee to post a $500,000 bond on June 13 after he issued a temporary injunction against Viacom. But the judge raised the bond to $2.5-million, after a hearing two weeks ago, and gave Lee until Monday to post it.

The additional $2-million was never posted, and the judge dropped the injunction after both sides reached agreement.

3 more years of Simon on "Idol'

LOS ANGELES _ American Idol villain Simon Cowell has signed a contract to judge the crooner contest for another three years, Fox said Monday.

Fox also agreed to help Cowell establish his own production company, simcow Ltd., and run a new reality-TV series from him.

Cowell refused to say how much he is being paid or what new shows he plans to produce. He already oversees the new dating program Cupid, which premieres Wednesday on CBS. Idol's third season is set to start in January 2004.

Talk show host Savage gets the boot

MSNBC fired talk-show host Michael Savage on Monday for making strident antigay comments on his Saturday cable television show.

The incident happened when Savage was taking calls about airline horror stories.

One caller, who identified himself as a gay man, began to talk about smoking in the bathroom. Savage cut him off and asked: "So you're one of those sodomists? Are you a sodomite?"

"Yes, I am," the caller replied.

"You should only get AIDS and die, you pig" Savage said. He also referred to the caller as "a piece of garbage."

MSNBC did not return calls for comment.

New channel reaches for the middle

LOS ANGELES _ A new 24-hour cable channel aimed at showing real American life between the East and West coasts is planned for launch next year, said Doron Gorshein, chairman and chief executive officer of The America Channel.

The channel will focus on "real reality and real storytelling" about the nation and its people, Gorshein said.

Among the planned series are American Stories, highlighting the achievements of ordinary people; Campus Report, with students documenting college life; and Faces of America, focusing on the nation's social, cultural and ethnic diversity.

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