The following article appeared in yesterday's (Jan. 21) edition of the New York Daily News:
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.
"In the case of 'The Osbournes', this was an inevitability," said Prof. Robert Thompson, head of Syracuse University's Center for the Study of Popular Television. "Once you take away that initial shock of the craziness of what you're seeing, there's not a lot left."
Indeed, a Daily News analysis of Nielsen Media Research figures indicates that the show built around the aging, addled rocker Ozzy Osbourne has lost steam.
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. Viewers were shown that a rocker known for his wild stage antics slogged through the same kind of domestic indignities as regular folks — pets pooping on carpets, the struggle to operate a remote control, teens mouthing off.
"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 "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.
"'The Osbournes' was this supernova," said Syracuse's Thompson. "Nobody was expecting it. It was the first of its kind out of the gate....This was really fun to watch. But once you've seen it, it's a little less interesting to watch."