Poor ratings performances from original programming fare and sluggish growth among targeted male viewers may have contributed to Spike TV president Albie Hecht’s surprise resignation Sunday.
Hecht -- who served as the male-targeted network’s first president since its rebranding to Spike TV from The New TNN 17 months ago -- resigned his post Sunday due to “creative differences,” according to a network statement.
He oversaw the creation of several Spike TV hit shows such as The Joe Schmo Show, MXC, Most Extreme Elimination Challenge and The Video Game Awards, but he never developed a network-defining, signature series.
Even the network’s hyped “Spike@9” weekly block of original programming -- whichlaunched last fall andfeatured such shows as The Club and I Hate My Job -- failed to woo a significant number of viewers.
Spike nevertheless increased its primetime household ratings by 10% in 2004 to a 1.0 compared with a 0.9 in 2003 -- most of that due to the success of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation reruns.
Hecht was unable to effectively attract the network’s target audience of young, adult males. Spike TV only posted a minimal gain in the male 18-34 demo, according to Nielsen Media Research figures.
Ironically, the infusion of such acquired fare as CSI helped the network to increase its female 18-34 viewership by 25% to a 0.5 rating, according to Nielsen data supplied by Disney ABC Cable Networks Group.
Hecht, formerly president of film and television entertainment for Nickelodeon, said in a prepared statement that he felt “immensely satisfied in the job that I have done” at Spike TV, but he did not elaborate further about the creative differences he had with MTV Networks executives.
MTV Networks Group president Herb Scannell would only say in a prepared statement, “As Spike TV's first president, Albie Hecht led the effort to create the first network for men. He's a talented producer and executive who will be missed."