Sharon Osbourne Unloaded; the interview
By April MacIntyre Mar 31, 2009, 1:52 GMT
01/13/2009 - Ozzy Osbourne, Kelly Osbourne, Jack Osbourne and Sharon Osbourne - 2009 FOX Winter All-Star Party - Arrivals - My House - Hollywood, CA. USA © Albert L. Ortega / PR Photos
March 31 will see the return of the vivacious Osbourne clan on FOX.
Osbournes: Reloaded will feature matriarch and manager Sharon Osbourne, papa Ozzy, Jack and Kelly as they reconvene on smallscreen to throw all kinds of curve balls, family variety-style.
The family had a breakout smash hit on MTV that was a fly-on-the-wall peek of their daily lives, and the success of their show spawned celebrity family show knock-offs galore, none of which have lived up to the unpredictability and fun of The Osbournes.
Osbournes: Reloaded premieres on Tuesday, March 31st, immediately following a special expanded edition of American Idol. Osbournes: Reloaded will be on from 9:20 to 10:00 p.m. eastern/pacific time.
Monsters and Critics joined other online journalists for a conference call with Sharon Osbourne.
Will the child actors who portray you have liberty with the language, a la Ozzy and Sharon?
S. Osbourne No, because the children used are professional actors. They were there with their parents. We have to get special permission to use them anyway. We have to have a license to use children, and everything that they were saying, they were not swearing. They were using the word “frigging,” okay?
Did you have to do any changes to the idea to kind of feel a more family-friendly setting?
S. Osbourne No. You’ve got to remember this is a light-hearted comedy show, and so we use children and then, in their scripts, it was no swearing at all. It was “sticky” and “frigging,” so they’re not using the words. And they’ve got to remember that they’re child actors. It’s like what do you do when you use children in horror movies, right? You can watch any horror movie today and there will most likely be little children used in it.
What was it like working with your family again?
S. Osbourne It wasn’t what I expected, you know? It’s very weird because you can never go back in time, and I thought that it was just going to be a continuation of the way that it used to be. But absolutely, my kids are young adults. They’ve got their own opinion. Certain things, Ozzy and I would say, “Oh, yes,” and then, suddenly, there would be two voices behind going, “No, we don’t like that.” And it’s like, “Who are you?” so it wasn’t what we expected, you know? Because it had been so long since we’d all worked together that it was really very, very different this time. The nucleus was very different.
Sharon, what made you want to go back on TV and do a show like this?
S. Osbourne It’s very appealing when a production company comes to you and says, “Okay, we’re going to give you six hours on national TV. What would you like to do?” It’s a huge opportunity, and when you work in TV, it’s like, it’s a gift, so why not?
It’s not like we were hanging around waiting for the phone to ring. Somebody came to us and said, “We’d like to put several million behind you and put you back on TV.” Why not?
Variety shows have had a tough go recently. Why do you think your Variety hour might succeed?
S. Osbourne I think it’s very, very hard to do a variety show hosted by one person. It’s very difficult. It’s a lot of pressure on one person to be all things to everyone. And I think that it works better when there’s two, three, and in our case there’s four, so it takes the pressure off. It brings different elements to the show, and there’s nothing like the nucleus of a family working together. And variety is historically for the family. It’s just that we feel that we’ve brought it up to 2010.
It’s not a reality show. When we were offered the opportunity of doing a show together again, the first thing we all said was, “We’ve been there, done that. We’re not going back to doing a camera in our house, so we have to do something different. You’ve got to take it to another level if we’re going to come back and work together again.”
In each show, there’s different segments. We don’t really repeat each segment.
It’s like anything. When we ended the last show, it was like, “Oh, this is easy. Can we continue this now?” And, of course, you get into a rhythm, so it was very easy, and just as you get in your rhythm and things are quicker and easier to produce, it’s over.
How proud are you of your kids?
S. Osbourne I’m really incredibly proud, as is Ozzy, of our kids. They branched out from us. They make their own living. They do extremely well doing what they do, and I look at them now as well-rounded people. They’ve had such great experiences and unbelievable opportunities in their life. My daughter’s done everything from working in the West End theatre to hosting her own radio show. My son’s kept a series going for five years in Europe, hosting his own show in Europe and doing great documentaries he does. And they do it on their own, so I’m amazingly proud of them.
Can you elaborate a little bit more on the prank part of the show?
S. Osbourne The wonderful world of the electronic age, it’s very easy to get people off Facebook and do pranks on them. And you send them a ticket to come to the show, and then they’re there and they have no idea what’s going to happen to them. So yes, we do a lot of pranks on the audience, which is great fun to see people being surprised. And we don’t do things to hurt people. It’s just all in good fun.
Any potential backlash to any segments?
S. Osbourne I don’t know because everybody has a different opinion. Everybody’s got a different opinion, so some people might think it was just funny and some people might think it was out of order, so I don’t know.
I’d be lying if I said, “Oh, yes. Of course I care.” I don’t care because I know, as far as my barometer goes on being mean and not being mean, as far as my barometer is, we weren’t being mean. It was all in good fun.
Is there a story behind the show’s name, Osbournes: Reloaded?
S. Osbourne No. Actually, Kelly came up with the name. We went from “Live and Dangerous” to all these different names, and then Kelly came up with Reloaded, and it just kind of, yes, okay, that works.
What’s your favorite segment of the show that you’ve done?
S. Osbourne I love doing things, surprising the audience. That’s my favorite on the show. I love doing that. I love seeing their surprise and seeing everyone laughing. That’s what I like.
How long did this show take to get done?
S. Osbourne Oh, geez. I’ll tell you something, this show was a long time in, actually, we were approached two years ago now, so it took a long time to actually pin it down, what we were going to do and get everybody together because we have to work around Ozzy’s career. So we had to wait until he’d finished his world tour and all of that, but it was very difficult. Depending on what day of the week, one of them would fire themselves and not turn up.
Especially, I thought the kids were bad enough, but Ozzy was worse. He would be, today he likes it, and tomorrow he hated it, so it was, “Is he going to turn up? Is he going to walk out?” Nobody knew.
One day there was only me there, so it was tough.
What was the one part that you were really looking forward to? Was it the pranks or something else?
S. Osbourne No, it was actually working with everyone again. I had this romantic notion that it was going to be like it was six years ago. I thought we’re going to go back in time, but I was wrong. It wasn’t.
What about the two kids that impersonate you and Ozzy?
S. Osbourne They’re from stage schools in London and eight years old, and they’re absolutely adorable. They are just fantastic kids.
Is Jack still a member of the Muncie, Indiana Police Department?
S. Osbourne Yes, very much so. In fact, he was there last month working.
He wanted to keep his badge, so he never let it go. He goes back each, well, every few months to be able to keep his badge. You have to work so many hours, so he does. Yes.
Do you think that your family’s past histories with addiction would lead to any controversy considering that the variety show is traditionally a very family, clean-style—
S. Osbourne That must be the most ridiculous question I have ever been asked in my entire career. That is the most ridiculous question, and I’m really angry. Do you know how many people in this country alone suffer from addiction? And not, by any percentage, it’s probably a fraction of a percentage that are in the music industry. This is a terrible epidemic that covers every race. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich, you’re poor, black or white, it’s an epidemic of drugs and alcohol in this country, okay? And all my family are examples of being truthful about their condition and working through it and trying to better themselves as human beings.
How can people, you know that we have been so open about our lives. My husband has struggled with addiction his entire life, and my children, my son has been clean and sober, for six years he’s been clean and sober and lives a very, very strict AA lifestyle. And so, if anything, he’s a beacon of hope for every young person in this country that is struggling with addiction, okay? So when you talk about family, we’re family, and we are a real family. We don’t pretend to be something that we are not. We’re not hypocrites.
Oh, I in no way meant to imply that at all—
S. Osbourne Well, I’ve taken real offense because, you know why? We’re real people, and probably half of the people that are watching our show, they have someone in their family who has a problem with alcohol and drugs. How many people do you know that go into rehab? How many people’s parents do you know that are addicts?
I commend you for putting yourself out there like that. I do think that you are great examples. I was just asking what you thought the public perception was. I apologize for offending you in any way. I do think that you are very great examples.
S. Osbourne No, no, no. I was just saying it was the dumbest question that I have ever been asked in my entire career because you were saying, “Would it offend other families?” You know how many families suffer from this that can’t get themselves out of it, that don’t know where to go for help, that have been trying for years to get clean and sober, and we are a beacon of hope. We live in the real world and this world is tough.
Was there a specific idea of when they approached you for a show?
S. Osbourne Do you know what? We were lucky that it was Fremantle, and Fremantle approached us and said, “We want the Osbournes back on TV.” So it was them that approached us, the production company.
It was just that they wanted to give us the opportunity to, they basically gave us the checkbook and said, “Okay, what are we going to do with you?” and it kind of evolved from that because we didn’t want to do reality. So, “Alright, what are we going to do with you …?” and it did take an awful long time to actually come up with this idea.
What were some of the others that you toggled through before you settled on this one?
S. Osbourne Oh my goodness me, it was going around the country just looking for other Osbournes, and I’m like, I don’t think so. But we did keep that as a segment on the show. We did go to three different families, but to do a show of just traveling across the country finding Osbournes would have been really boring.
And was the family always involved in all of the ideas?
S. Osbourne Yes. Absolutely, yes, and that’s, again, why it was difficult, because to find four people that agree on anything is always tough.
Will Kelly and Ozzy sing? Do you got any other special guests coming up singing?
S. Osbourne Yes. We have, Ozzy and Kelly do a duet together.They do “Changes”
Yes, and then Ozzy performs solo, Kelly performs solo, and we had Fall Out Boy in the studio performing.
Pamela Anderson came in, who is a family friend. Oh, and we had Miss Piggy.
We didn’t really want to make it celebrity-driven. It’s not what the show’s about. It’s about just being funny with real people and not celebrity-driven. It’s not what we’re about.
Can you tell us what Pamela does on the show?
S. Osbourne It’s a segment where we are blindfolded and we had to guess who the guest was, and when Pamela answers questions, she has helium from a balloon in her mouth, so we have no idea who it is.
And Miss Piggy did the same thing. She spoke through helium, so we had no idea who it was.
What’s next for you guys?
S. Osbourne Well, Jack leaves next week to continue his Adrenaline Junkie. He’s starting off in New Zealand filming, and he works on that for four months of the year. Kelly goes back to England to continue her radio show with the BBC, and Ozzy’s in the studio. And I’m doing America’s Got Talent, so we’re all back doing our own thing.
Do you have any models for variety shows that you particularly enjoyed that you used when you were putting this together or thought of?
S. Osbourne Well, for me, I used to love Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. To me, that was just ahead of its time when it was first on TV and just loved it. So that was my take on it, and the kids and Ozzy had never really seen variety shows. I mean, the kids being the age they are, there was nothing when they were growing up on TV that was vaguely like variety. So that was the take on variety, but yes. I mean, you always hope that what you do is going to be successful and somebody’s going to ask you to come back and do it again, but that’s up to the public, whether they watch it or not.
What is your secret to juggling family and business responsibilities while keeping your sanity?
S. Osbourne Being a woman, we’re all good at juggling, you know? I always think we’re much better than the men at that, but, ultimately, something has to suffer, and I think earlier on when my kids were much younger, I think that they suffered because I was absent quite a lot from home because of business. So I think, ultimately, that they suffered. Something has to; you can’t do it all well. You can keep all the balls in the air, but they’re not as high as you’d like them.
Who was your mentor?
S. Osbourne I think my father gave me a good work ethic, so I’d been working since I was 15, so I have a very good work ethic. But it was basically survival. I like to think of myself as a survivor, and if I say I’m going to do something, I’ll really try to do it and succeed at what I’m doing. I’m very driven.
It’s like I won’t take “no” for an answer. I’ll ask at least 20 times before I’ll accept the “no.”
What have you and Ozzy learned from each other over the years that makes you more endearing to each other?
S. Osbourne I think he’s learned that you really can’t change someone. They have to change themselves, and you just hope that, in time, they will change and, with life experiences, they’ll change. And also, respect. It’s a very, very important part of a relationship for me. You have to have mutual respect.
Osbournes: Reloaded will premiere on Tuesday, March 31st, a special time, 9:20 to 10:00 p.m. eastern/pacific. Additional Osbournes: Reloaded will be announced following that premiere date.