Billboard Bits: 'Osbournes,' 'Episode II,' Autechre
News on 'Osbournes,' 'Episode II,' Autechre"The Osbournes," the reality sitcom about rocker Ozzy Osbourne and his colorful family life, is officially the biggest hit series in MTV's 21-year history. Just under 6.3 million people watched Tuesday's episode, up from 6 million the week before as the series continues to grow.
No MTV series -- even cultural touchstones like "Beavis & Butt-Head" and "Real World" -- has reached such heights. MTV has been trying to take advantage of the hit, playing series episodes 15 times a week. "The Osbournes" has pushed aside professional wrestling as cable television's biggest show, according to Nielsen Media Research.
MTV has prepared three more original episodes before its season ends. But it may try to use footage to create up to three additional ones. Every additional viewer just improves Osbourne's negotiating position. MTV is talking to the family about filming another season's worth of shows, but the Osbournes are reportedly concerned about tourists at their California home and may film part of a new season in their second home in England.
Osbourne headlines his annual Ozzfest tour this summer, beginning July 6 in Bristow, Va.
Few film soundtracks have made as indelible a mark on the American psyche as "Star Wars." The mere mention of the classic movie title often conjures bits of John Williams' score. On the eve of the May 16 opening of George Lucas' "Star Wars -- Episode II: Attack of the Clones," there's a flurry of activity surrounding its accompanying Sony Classical soundtrack, which features a brand-new score by five-time Academy Award-winner Williams.
The label is working "Across the Stars (Love Theme)" to radio in an edited form of the song, as well as a version that interweaves dialogue from the film. "[It's] the perfect accompaniment to the developing relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala," Lucas says of the composition. "Their love is complicated -- pure yet forbidden, personal but with profound ramifications for an entire galaxy. Somehow, John has managed to convey all of that complexity in a simple, hauntingly beautiful theme."
The soundtrack continues Sony Classical's long association with Williams, who exclusively records his non-film projects with the label. Williams won the third of his five Oscars for his score for the original "Star Wars" (1977), and received nominations for his scores for "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) and "Return of the Jedi" (1983). The soundtrack albums for "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back" also won Grammy Awards for Williams in 1977 and 1980, and he was a nominee for "Return of the Jedi" in 1983 and "Star Wars -- Episode I: The Phantom Menace" in 2000.
-- Larry Flick, N.Y.
U.K. experimental electronia duo Autechre has been tapped to curate the 2003 edition of the U.K.'s All Tomorrow's Parties festival, set for March 28-30 and April 4-6 of next year. According to the group's label, Warp, the event will replace a proposed Japanese edition, "which no longer appears to be a go." As previously reported, this year's ATP runs this weekend (April 19-21) and next in Camber Sands, U.K., and is being curated by Shellac. The Breeders, Blonde Redhead, Cheap Trick, Wire, and the Fall are among the acts on the bill.
Autechre's most recent album, "Confield," debuted at No. 47 on Billboard's Top Electronic Albums chart last summer.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
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