FOX reloads 'Osbournes' as series of specials

FOX's attempt to revive the variety show will get a big lead-in, but what happens after that is anyone's guess.

The network says it will premiere its new show "Osbournes: Reloaded" at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, March 31, following "American Idol." That all but guarantees the show a lead-in audience of 20 million-plus people.

But the network isn't going to keep the show there on a weekly basis. Instead, FOX says the show -- which will feature Ozzy, Sharon, Jack and Kelly Osbourne in a new spin on the old variety-show format -- will air as "a series of one-hour specials" later in the season. That's code for "no regular time period."

It also means that "Fringe" will still get to finish out its season in the post-"Idol" timeslot. It will be pre-empted on March 31 for the "Osbournes" premiere but will return April 7 for its final episodes of the year.

"Osbournes: Reloaded" will feature the family, whose 2002-05 MTV series set the template for celebrity reality shows, performing in comedy bits in front of a live audience and taking part in filmed sketches like "Osbournes Across America," where they take day jobs in a fast-food restaurant and elsewhere; and "Osbournes Meet the Osbournes," where they meet up with other families that share their name.

FremantleMedia, the company behind "Idol," is producing the show. James Sunderland ("America's Got Talent") is executive producing.

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