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May 30, 2002  •  Post A Comment

‘Osbournes’ gets 20-episode renewal

MTV has made it official: “The Osbournes,” the hottest show on TV, is returning for a second season of 20 new episodes.

The negotiations leading up to the deal were, by several accounts, just as idiosyncratic as the Osbournes themselves. Deal points included a demand that the Osbournes’ pets receive free therapy and an offer from the Osbournes to sign the contract in actual blood, according to a report in The New York Times.

“The Osbournes,” MTV’s unlikely genre-bending hit, follows the daffy and expletive-laden adventures of rocker Ozzy, his wife and manager Sharon and their kids, Jack and Kelly. The show itself plays like a Bizarro World version of 1950s sitcoms, and it has been wildly popular with the 18 to 34 demo advertisers covet.

The second-season deal will be worth anywhere from $20 million down to $5 million to the family. Accounts varied, depending on whether the source cited was close to the family or to the network. Additionally, the Osbournes themselves won ownership of the negatives of the show, including the 10-episode first season.

The Osbournes now will license multiple runs of each episode to MTV (up to 60 runs each, according to one report), while retaining all syndication and other ancillary rights. That ownership provision is potentially a windfall in perpetuity for the Osbournes.

“We desperately love the show, we love the Osbournes, including all of their pets, and hope to bring the entire universe into their twisted, unpredictable lives for many years to come,” Van Toffler, president of MTV and MTV2, said in a statement.

In addition to the new episodes, MTV will air Osbournes specials this summer, including one focusing on Ozzfest, another on Ozzy and Sharon themselves and one the network is billing as a “very special dinner with the Osbournes.”

ABC to host July affils meeting in Chicago: ABC confirmed today that it will host an affiliates convention July 10 in Chicago. The schedule is still under discussion, said a network spokeswoman, but it is likely to include traditional daypart presentations by executives from news, sports, sales and marketing. The schedule is also likely to allow freshman Entertainment President Susan Lyne, who is said to charm everyone she meets, ample opportunity to meet and greet the affiliates who have had a rough ride over two seasons of prime-time decline.

Only Wednesday, CBS President Les Moonves reminded affiliates meeting for two days in Las Vegas that CBS was the only network still holding a traditional gathering for its local stations. Last summer, ABC was among the networks that opted for regional meetings instead of one big get-together. The spokeswoman said the question was always how to meet with affiliates most effectively and Chicago’s being centrally located made it as convenient for many affiliates as traveling to regional hubs.

7 Up pulls jail ad after complaints: A 7 Up TV ad titled “Captive Audience,” set in a jail and meant to be humorous, has been pulled by the soft-drink company after protests charging it with sending a message that trivializes jail rape and sexual abuse in prison.

The 30-second commercial was accused by the rights group Stop Prisoner Rape of “perpetuating the kind of callousness that allows sexual abuse to continue in so many prisons virtually unchecked,” according to a Reuters wire service report.

In one of the ad’s allusions to prison sexual abuse, 7 Up’s pitchman is seen handing out soft-drink cans to prisoners. When he drops a can, he remarks, “I’m not picking that up.”

The ad tested well, then ran for about two months, according to a spokeswoman for Cadbury Schweppes, 7 Up’s corporate parent, quoted in the Reuters report. The spokeswoman acknowledged that the ad was pulled because the company “listened to what [Stop Prisoner Rape] had to say.”

E! sending Rivers team to cover ESPY Awards: E! Entertainment Television, which has staked out the red carpet from Hollywood to Cannes, now adds the world of sports to its award-show coverage.

Joan and Melissa Rivers, E!’s mother-daughter arbiters of all things fashionable, will be on hand for the one-hour “Live From the Red Carpet: The 2002 ESPY Awards,” which will air on E! the evening of July 10, immediately preceding the 2002 ESPY awards, which will be telecast by ESPN.

The ESPYs recognize achievements in sports in more than 30 categories.

(c) Copyright 2002 by Crain Communications