Fox Wins With 'Idol' and 'Osbournes'

Rash Report: Ozzie Proves Less Family-Friendly Than Simon

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MINNEAPOLIS ( -- Call it vertical integration for a post-modern media age: Fox creates content like last night's "Osbournes: Reloaded," and then Fox News Channel complains about the show's coarsening effect on our culture. Viewers seem to like both: Fox News' ratings are roaring as it responds aggressively to the new Obama administration, and "Osbournes: Reloaded" made its debut with a 3.7/9 rating and share in the ad-centric 18-to-49 demographic. Coupled with lead-in "American Idol's" 8.9/23, Fox won remotes -- if not respect -- as it averaged a first-place 7.4/19, well above NBC (3.5/9), CBS (3.4/9), ABC (2.1/6) and the CW (1.0/3).

'Osbornes: Reloaded'
'Osbornes: Reloaded' Credit: Fox
"Osbournes: Reloaded" was panned by Panama City's Fox affiliate, which, along with Fox's Cincinnati station, refused to run the reality show. Among the bits that turned them off was a skit with two kids posing as a young Ozzie and Sharon verbally (and vulgarly) abusing movie-theater patrons and ushers.

By comparison, ABC's program premiere, the romantic dramedy "Cupid," was cute. But it was also low-rated, delivering only a 2.3/6, which was even with results for the normal time-slot occupant, "Primetime: What Would You Do?" But love not only didn't conquer all, it got beat by NBC's "Law and Order: SVU" (down 6% to a 3.4/9 but still tops in the 10 p.m. time slot) and CBS's "Without a Trace" (even with its 2.8/8 season average).

Of course, it didn't help that ABC started the night with a one-hour rerun of two-week-old show "Better off Ted," whose .9/2 halved its already low average. Better off than "Ted" was the "Dancing With the Stars" results show (3.1/8), which tripled the results of its "Ted" lead-in but was down 21% from its season average and finished fourth in the time slot, just as ABC did for the night overall.

Many chose a show about cutting calories rather than cutting a rug. But NBC's two-hour "Biggest Loser" was down 8% from its season average to a 3.5/9.

On CBS, "NCIS" was off a negligible 5% to a 3.5/9, and "The Mentalist" was up a 10th of a rating point from its original-episode season average to a 3.8/9.

And on the CW, right after "Reaper" (1.0/3), the big news was the return from reruns -- six weeks of them -- of "90210." Actually, it's more like the second return for the show, which made its original debut a generation ago with 1990's "Beverly Hills, 90210."

Perhaps not surprisingly, the original version ran on Fox, and became a seminal if not smash hit that helped define the relatively new network. Times change, however: Last night's CW version looked quaint compared with Fox's latest content, and delivered only a 1.1/3.

Wednesday: April Fools' Day seems an appropriate time for "I Get That a Lot," CBS's show punking people with celebrities doing regular-Joe jobs. (Whether in-on-the-joke viewers feel punked for watching remains to be seen.)
Thursday: The end not just of a show but an era: No, not today's announcement that after 15,700 episodes spanning 72 years on radio and TV, CBS's "Guiding Light" will go dark in September, but NBC's final night of "E.R."

A slight spike -- albeit too late -- for the series finale of BBC-turned-ABC drama "Life on Mars."

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NOTE: All ratings based on adults 18-49. A share is a percentage of adults 18-49 who have their TV sets on at a given time. A rating is a percentage of all adults 18-49, whether or not their sets are turned on. For example, a 1.0 rating is 1% of the total U.S. adults 18-49 population with TVs. Ratings quoted in this column are based on live-plus-same-day unless otherwise noted. (Many ad deals have been negotiated on the basis of commercial-minute, live-plus-three-days viewing.)

John Rash is senior VP-director of media analysis for Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis. For more, see

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