- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 1, 2004

Sharon silenced

Ozzy Osbourne’s better half will soon have more time to tend to her hubby’s recovery from that recent ATV accident.

The MTV matriarch either quit her still-new talk show or got the pink slip, depending on whom you ask.

The Chicago Tribune reported that a spokesman for the Tribune stations — which carry her show — said they no longer held interest in the talker. Miss Osbourne contends, however, that she’s been trying to wriggle out of her contract ever since Ozzy’s near-fatal ATV accident in December.

Miss Osbourne’s chat fest, according to E! Online, debuted in September to poor ratings and failed to improve, averaging a mere 1.2 rating for the week ending Jan. 11. By comparison, Ellen DeGeneres’ new talk show averaged a 1.9 rating for the same week.

“The Sharon Osbourne Show” will continue production through this summer, though replacing it will be an as-yet-untitled Larry Elder vehicle.

Don’t worry about missing Miss Osbourne or her wacky family. The latest season of MTV’s “The Osbournes” debuted last week, and future episodes will deal with the ex-Black Sabbath singer’s terrible accident.

Dinosaur in disguise

The Sci Fi channel is going Jurassic.

The cable network has given the green light to “Anonymous Rex,” a two-hour movie based on Eric Garcia’s series of comedic mystery novels, Reuters News Agency reports.

The books center on Vincent Rubio, a high-tech private investigator who, along with hundreds of others on Earth, is in fact a dinosaur — in his case, a dinosaur called a velociraptor, which was prominently showcased in the “Jurassic Park” features. In Mr. Rubio’s reality, the creatures never became extinct. Instead, they evolved to be 6 feet tall and continue to live among us by disguising themselves with human-looking latex costumes.

The movie could turn into a series if the ratings warrant. Sci Fi has commissioned two more scripts.

“Rex” has been a passion project for Sci Fi Channel President Bonnie Hammer for five years, since she read the first book in the series, 1999’s “Anonymous Rex.” The cable channel first put it into development in 2000.

“It feels like this is the time for this concept to come to fruition,” Mark Stern, Sci Fi’s executive vice president of original programming, told Reuters. Screenwriter Joe Menosky (UPN’s “Star Trek: Voyager”) based the pilot not on “Anonymous Rex” but on its follow-up, “Casual Rex,” which is actually the “Anonymous” prequel.

Production, which will involve computer-generated effects as well as some prosthetic and animatronic effects, is slated to begin in March.

Bob stays put

Bob Barker has been telling “The Price Is Right” contestants to “come on down” for more than three decades — and he has no intention of hanging up his microphone.

CBS has announced that the Emmy-winning host will return for his 33rd season lording over the game show.

“The Price Is Right” premiered on CBS in September 1972. Today, it stands as the longest-running game show in television history, and Mr. Barker, now 80, is the program’s longest-running host.

The silver-haired smoothie has earned 15 Emmys over the years — 12 as TV host, two as the show’s executive producer and the Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award for Daytime Television in 1999.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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