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TV Notes: Have viewers had enough of Ozzy?

Friday, January 24, 2003

Viewers are growing weary of MTV's F-bomb-spewing "The Osbournes."

Ratings for the reality series have fallen dramatically this season, putting it in danger of becoming a one-off wonder.

Last week, the show's Tuesday telecast -- the slot in which first-run episodes are aired -- averaged 3.48 million viewers. It was the least-watched installment of the show since the series returned for a second season in late November.

Moreover, it's down dramatically from the first episode of the season, which averaged 6.63 million viewers. That's a steep decline, considering the heavy attention the Osbourne clan -- Ozzy, wife Sharon, and two of their offspring -- has generated for their personal and professional doings.

Last spring, it was hard for anyone, let alone MTV viewers, to escape the media blitz about the Osbourne family or their unusual show.

"The Osbournes" -- which documents the everyday life of an aging celebrity in his California home -- was a fresh concept at the time.

"The Osbournes" quickly became a media darling, which may have driven ratings still higher. In April, the show hit a high of 7.7 million viewers.

Now, however, more low-level celebrities are jumping into the reality genre, robbing "The Osbournes" of its uniqueness.

The lower ratings for "The Osbournes" follow the family's appearance on ABC's "The American Music Awards," which averaged more than 12 million viewers, down from 16 million the year before.

Even though the show's ratings on MTV are below that of a year ago, they're still higher than the music channel normally draws. Last week's numbers for "The Osbournes," for example, were well over the cable network's average of 1.2 million viewers in prime time, though not as strong as those for the decade-old "The Real World," which averaged 3.68 million viewers. (Richard Huff, New York Daily News)

BYE-BYE 'ANDY'?

Fox has pulled "Andy Richter Controls the Universe" from its February sweeps month schedule, just days after announcing which episodes would air. "Malcolm in the Middle" reruns will take its place.

The move comes after Fox Entertainment president Gail Berman praised the show at Saturday's Fox presentation during the Television Critics Association winter press tour.

" 'Andy' is an incredibly good television show. We're extremely proud of it, and it's why we brought it back this season after last year," Berman said. "It's obviously experiencing some difficulties. We tried it in the Sunday 9:30 slot, we also put it in the Tuesday 8:30 slot, and it doesn't seem to be catching on. We continue to take a look at it, and we're hopeful of seeing some signs of life."

A Fox publicist said "Andy" will return to the air for three more episodes March 2, 9 and 16. (Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor)

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