It's rocky for 'The Osbournes'
By Associated Press, 1/24/2003
EW YORK - There's some bleepin' bad news for the Osbourne family: Television viewers may be getting sick of them.
Ratings for MTV's hit reality sitcom have been tumbling in its second season, from a high of 6.6 million viewers for the Nov. 26 premiere to 3.5 million on Jan. 14. This week's episode climbed back to 3.8 million.
Ozzy, Sharon, Kelly, and Jack Osbourne were also hosts of last week's American Music Awards, which had its worst ratings ever.
Less than a year after ''The Osbournes'' began airing, is the family burning out?
''The people came in; they tried it; and they just haven't gotten back on it,'' Harry Keeshan, senior vice president of broadcasting for the ad-buying firm PHD, said yesterday. ''I don't think a lot of these people will return.''
The show's tone is different this second season because the family's life is different. Instead of showing the eccentric home life of a marginal celebrity and his family, the latest episodes depict them coping with sudden fame, as well as Sharon's bout with cancer.
Brian Graden, chief programming executive at MTV, said he's not worried about the numbers. The first season started slow and built into a phenomenon while the second season started fast and faded, roughly even in viewers.
''The same number of eyeballs are seeing this season on both a premiere and repeat basis,'' Graden said. ''If you're in my shoes, you're not complaining.''
Although the show may not be as popular as it was last spring, MTV says it's still doing well among the 12-to-34-year-old viewership.
After the current 10-episode season ends, a third set of shows is planned for this summer. After that, who knows?
The Osbournes' heavily bleeped host stint on the American Music Awards was not only unpopular with viewers, it reportedly caused one celebrity, ''Everybody Loves Raymond'' actress Patricia Heaton, to walk out of the theater in disgust.