‘Idol’ to bleed into Osbournes launch

Several affiliates pre-empt show's debut

The Osbournes’ loss is “American Idol’s” gain.

Fox has expanded Tuesday night’s performance episode of “American Idol” to an hour and 25 minutes, bleeding heavily into the hour that was to have served as the launch pad for “Osbournes: Reloaded.”

“Osbournes: Reloaded” will now bow with a truncated, 35-minute premiere episode. Show, which puts the famously dysfunctional Osbournes clan in a variety TV setting, will now air from 9:25-10 p.m.

Episode was originally scheduled for an hour but was trimmed to 40 minutes earlier this month. Revised schedule now takes another five minutes away from the already-truncated premiere.

That’s not the only hit “Osbournes: Reloaded” has taken: Several Fox affils, including WITI Milwaukee and WXIX Cincinnati have decided to preempt the premiere because of content concerns.

WITI is even airing the special “Dealing With Drugs” in its place. Family patriarch Ozzy Osbourne is well known for his past drug issues, while daughter Kelly checked into rehab in January.

” ‘Osbournes: Reloaded’ was thoroughly vetted by our standards and practices department to ensure it was appropriate for broadcast during the scheduled time period,” Fox said in a statement. “If any network affiliate feels the programming may be inappropriate for its individual market, however, it has the right to preempt the program.”

Fox has stopped referring to the show as a “variety program” (that genre once again has negative connotations thanks to Rosie O’Donnell’s NBC debacle in November) and in-stead now describes it as an unusual entertainment showcase featuring “audience interac-tion, rowdy comedy and hilarious stunts.” Copies of the show were not sent out for re-view.

Net, which ordered six episodes of “Osbournes: Reloaded” from producer FremantleMe-dia North America, hasn’t yet scheduled the remaining segs.

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