Fox affiliate WITI-TV in Milwaukee decided not to air the abomination that is Osbournes: Reloaded, a variety special aired tonight on Fox, after American Idol. Instead, the program is airing at 1 a.m.
WITI originally planned not to air the special, but decided to delay it until 1 a.m. Wednesday at the last minute. The station was a Fox O&O until 2007, when it and seven others were sold to Local TV – a new, privately-held broadcast group. This is the first known pre-emption in WITI’s fifteen-year history with the network (WITI switched from CBS to Fox in 1994 as part of the Fox-New World deal.)
Other pre-emptions and delays have also popped up. According to this thread at Radio-Info.com, Fox affiliates in St. Louis, Cincinnati, Kansas City (home of Aaron Barnhart’s TV Barn.com, who ironically failed to mention it), West Palm Beach, and Panama City, Fla. are either pre-empting or delaying Osbournes: Reloaded.
Stations pre-empting it were concerned mainly because of content, particularly with the Osbournes’ love of using words you can’t say on TV. Currently, Fox has a case in the U.S. Supreme Court to be decided this year after swear words were heard live during the 2003 Billboard Music Awards.
The Osbournes special received hardly any buzz, as most TV critics have all but ignored the program.
And as for the program itself? Fox cut five more minutes from the show, reducing it to a mere 35 minutes. Earlier, Fox cut it from a hour to 40 minutes for the premiere. Judging by tonight’s program, they should have just trimmed the rest.
Fox has ordered six segments of Osbournes: Reloaded to air as specials. Don’t look for the other five to air anytime soon – or ever.