USA adds touch of 'Evil'; Spike ignited at TCA
Ozzy’s going four for four.MTV has ordered 20 additional segs of mainstay “The Osbournes,” despite cooling ratings for its third edition. “If you thought we wouldn’t re-sign it for another season, you’re crazy,” MTV prexy Van Toffler said. MTV was one of several nets unveiling shows — and announcing new programming strategies — Tuesday during day two of the TV Critics Assn. press tour. USA Network greenlit “Touching Evil,” an original series exec produced by feature film directors Allen and Albert Hughes (“Menace II Society”) and Cheyenne Enterprise principals Arnold Rifkin and Bruce Willis. “Evil” marks the Hughes brothers’ television debut. Allen Hughes helmed the pilot, written by Bruno Heller (“The Expendables”). Based on the Brit format, series stars Jeffrey Donovan (“Storyteller”) as a detective who, after suffering a near-death gunshot wound, returns to work for an FBI-based elite crime squad, now fearless in his pursuit of justice. As for “The Osbournes,” season four episodes are slated to bow in winter 2004. “Osbournes” has averaged less than 4 million viewers this season after bowing to more than 6 million with its second-season opener last December. The show’s fourth season also comes as the Osbourne clan continues to live increasingly separate lives. Matriarch Sharon’s syndie Warner Bros.-distribbed talker bows this fall; son Jack recently did time in rehab; and daughter Kelly recently bought a $1.2 million Hollywood Hills home. The music net also revealed its Jessica Simpson/Nick Lachey reality series, now titled “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica,” would premiere Aug. 19, coinciding with the release of Lachey’s solo debut “SoulO.” Also making news under the MTV Networks banner:
- TNN: First Network for Men — finally given the greenlight to rebrand itself as Spike TV — unveiled “The Joe Schmo Show,” a seemingly unscripted series in which an ordinary guy thinks he’s in a reality show. Unbeknownst to him, he’s actually surrounded by a team of actors. Hourlong skein, produced by Stone Stanley Entertainment, is set to air Sept. 7. KROQ-FM morning personality Ralph Garman is set to host. Before beginning his presentation, TNN/Spike prexy Albie Hecht made it official: “Spike TV lives.”
- VH1 has set Aug. 24 for the rollout of “Inside Out,” which was expected to bow in first quarter 2003. Skein is a docu-style series chronicling the lives of artists struggling with the demands placed upon them. First seg will center on singer-songwriter Warren Zevon, who is dealing with terminal cancer.
- Nick at Nite announced the launch dates of off-net laffer staples “Roseanne” (Sept. 21) and “Full House” (Oct. 6), both of which the cabler acquired three years ago.