Entertainment behind the scenes
The Osbournes get unloaded by some Fox stations
The Fox variety program “Osbournes: Reloaded” has run into a buzzsaw, with the Washington Post reporting that at least 16 stations refused to air the Tuesday night gross-out show from heavy metal king Ozzy Osbourne, his wife Sharon and children Kelly and Jack.
Medium-sized market Cincinnati, Ohio, was among the stations that declined to air it, while the Fox affiliate in Denver, Colorado, was one of 10 stations that bumped it to a late-night time slot, when few young viewers were tuned in.
David Cavileer, the general manager of a Fox affiliate in Panama City, Florida, told the newspaper that with so many young viewers watching “Osbournes: Reloaded,” because it was scheduled after “American Idol,” it did not “seem like the proper thing” to air the program. Incidentally, Panama City is known as a spring break haven for partying college students, but the station manager said that is not his audience.
Some TV critics also wondered out loud what “Osbournes: Reloaded” was doing on the air. The Washington Post’s style columnist Tom Shales wrote that the show “could make history — as the first TV show ever to be recalled for fear of poisoning the atmosphere.”
Entertainment Weekly writer Ken Tucker wrote, “It seems a lifetime since, in 2002, the Osbournes came across as refreshingly nutty on their MTV reality show. On ‘The Osbournes: Reloaded,’ Ozzy, Sharon, Kelly, and Jack were just pathetic. No wonder Fox kept chopping this proposed hour-long ‘variety show’ into an ever-smaller size before airing it.”
On Tuesday night’s program, one man was called on stage and blindfolded before being induced to kiss an elderly woman. In another segment, the Osbourne clan worked at a drive-through restaurant and insulted the customers. And at one point, Ozzy Osbourne sprayed the in-studio audience with foam.
How did all the controversy and station rebellion affect ratings? The program’s top rated lead-in show “American Idol” had 24.4 million viewers, but viewership dropped to 8.4 million for “Osbournes: Reloaded.” Still, the show was No. 2 with a key demographic of adults age 18-49 during its time slot.
Fox has not set dates for when it could bring back “Osbournes: Reloaded,” but the show is planned as a recurring series of specials. We wonder what will happen when Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne and his first family of heavy metal return to gross out audiences next time?