Sharon Osbourne: heavy-metal matriarch, cancer patient, and now afternoon talk host. Telepictures Productions has clinched a deal with Osbourne, wife and manager of rocker Ozzy Osbourne and co-star of MTV’s reality hit “The Osbournes,” to host a syndicated daytime talk show that would debut in fall 2003, sources said.
Details were still being finalized, a source said, but it is expected that Osbourne will oversee a single-issue talk show with a studio audience, a format familiar from “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Telepictures, a syndication arm of Warner Bros. Television, will soon begin selling the show to individual stations.
The timing of the deal — which was rumored for weeks but evidently wrapped within the past two days — is ironic. On Wednesday, ABC broadcast a Barbara Walters interview in which Osbourne said she was tired of the intrusiveness of the MTV show and regretted putting her family on television.
But earlier in the week, as details of the interview leaked out in advance of the broadcast, Osbourne appeared to retreat somewhat, saying she would complete the upcoming second season of the MTV series as planned. “I love my MTV,” she was quoted as saying.
Osbourne’s health also raises questions about the rollout of the new talk show. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in the summer and has undergone chemotherapy. But Telepictures executives believe her profile as a cancer patient — as well as a mother of three children and a formerly overweight woman — would actually boost her credibility to a daytime talk audience, one source said.
Syndication executives — already emboldened by the success this season of “Dr. Phil” — are thinking ahead to what the daytime landscape will look like if Oprah Winfrey ends her show as planned in 2006. Several prominent projects planned for next year — including ones hosted by Sarah Ferguson and Ellen De Generes — seem to have stalled in development.
Osbourne could bring new excitement to the market. “This project will be the one that shakes up the marketplace,” said Bill Carroll of Katz Media in New York. Carroll cautioned, however, that Osbourne would still have to prove herself as a talk show host, an undertaking at which numerous well-known celebrities have failed.
As previously reported, the second season of “The Osbournes” debuts Nov. 26 on MTV, the same day daughter Kelly’s album “Shut Up” (Epic) arrives in stores. The entire family will on Jan. 13 co-host the American Music Awards, to be aired live on ABC.
Cynthia Littleton contributed to this report.