The cable channel now known as Spike originated in 1983, but back then it was called The Nashville Network. At its launch, TNN was positioned as country music channel somewhat in the mold of MTV, and the channel's schedule included blocks of music videos along with talk and variety shows with country music themes. Through a series of corporate mergers and buy-outs, TNN eventually came under the ownership of Viacom, which also owned MTV and rival country-music channel CMT. This corporate parentage eventually led to a shift in programming and a new name for the channel.
TNN always had a broader programming focus than the more music-oriented CMT, and the channel was willing to stray from music to include programming that appealed to audiences that liked country music. Professional wrestling and NASCAR were staples of the schedule for years, as were some mainstream sports such as college basketball and re-runs of classic TV series.
After a series of name changes and programming shifts, Viacom solidified the channel's identity in 2003, when it was christened with the Spike name and explicitly described as a channel for young men. The focus remains, however, on programming that appeals to TNN's original audience, including wrestling, mixed martial arts and re-runs of TV series with an emphasis on the action genre.