Osbournes Sign Deal For Merchandise Onslaught

Just when you thought the media blitz surrounding Ozzy Osbourne and his family had reached absurd proportions, the family has inked an exclusive agreement with leading merchandise firm Signatures Netw

Just when you thought the media blitz surrounding Ozzy Osbourne and his family had reached absurd proportions, the family has inked an exclusive agreement with leading merchandise firm Signatures Network to develop merchandise and licensing opportunities centered around MTV's hit reality show "The Osbournes."

Signatures, which already represented Osbourne and his Ozzfest festival tour in licensing and merchandising, is seeking out top licensees to launch "The Osbournes" at retail. The response has been predictably huge. Signatures founder and CEO Dell Furano says, "There has never been anything happening this fast and this intense. In three weeks we've had 325 different products [developed]."

First out of the box are T-shirts, caps, posters, and coffee mugs, Furano says. "Within 60 days, you'll see the key chains, wall hangings, board games, and then for back to school, it's backpacks, skateboards, notebook covers. Coming up, we've got bowling shirts, lunch pails, die-cast cars, talking bobble heads." Retail sales are projected to hit $200 million this year.

The company has already signed on 57 licensees (including four in Europe), developing such products as a calendar featuring Lola, the Osbournes' vomiting bulldog. Signatures has licensee agreements with Accessory Network, Biodomes, and Briefly Stated. Retailers supporting the program include Gadzooks, Hot Topic, Sam Goody, Target, and Kmart, the latter two offering sanitized versions of the products.

As previously reported, "The Osbournes" debuted in March as the highest-rated original-programming premiere in the history of MTV, which renewed the show for 20 more episodes starting in September.

In a recent Billboard.com poll, 31% of voters said they believe that the family's television show, the Ozzfest concert tour, book deals, and a seemingly endless stream of media appearances have tarnished their initial appeal. An additional 27% agreed, but insisted they were still interested to see what happens next.